Some Thoughts on the First Day of the Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Conferece

So far my time at the Emerging Technologies for Online Learning has been enojoyable, engaging, and thought provoking. The conference is a time to meet new people and learn about new and (hopefully) better ways to utilize online learning. If you do not know about the Online Learning Consortium you should really check it out. They are the leading organization in online learning and have a plethora of resources to aid the many different positions associated with online education. I thought I would offer a couple observations from my first day here at the conference.

Thoughts

  1. Getting faculty buy-in is a widespread concern for all different types of institutions but especially smaller liberal arts institutions. In order to change the negative perceptions associated with online learning it is going to take leaders (not managers) to influence faculty and administration to the benefits of online education.[1]
  2. Training faculty and grad students to be able to teach online is a difficult process. Two difficulties emerge: 1) faculty who have been teaching on-campus for years will usually find it difficult to also teach in an online environment effectively 2) recent grad students are usually compentent in their field but this does not transfer to be able to teach online or in person effectively.
  3. Ironically, in a conference devoted to emerging technologies it is surprisingly to see some of the options presented as effective means of education. New is not necessarily better and just because we can do something doesn’t mean that we should.
  4. Visual aids for slides are still really bad

One excellent resource that I was alerted to is the website Metamorfosi. This website is dedicated to help graduate students become online instructors. It takes you through 4 units explaining how online learning differs from traditional education and how to teach better online.

Links of note

Quote of the Day

If graduates had a professor who cared about them as a person, made them excited about learning, and encouraged them to pursue their dreams, their odds of being engaged at work more than doubled, as did their odds of thriving and their well-being.


  1. As a side note I just want to say that I don’t think that online education is necessarily better. Pedagogy is a highly complex and multifaceted organism that takes much thought in many areas such as who we are as humans, how we interact and develop meaningful relationships, the nature of education (is it just information or should it be more broadly be defined as human formation), the influence of technology on us, and what technologies should we use.  ↩