Teaching and Learning Online – Week 2

Thinking back to TPCK (Mishra & Koehler, 2006)  I think I would like to add another component to a teacher’s knowledge and that is social knowledge. In online learning the ‘teacher’ has a key role in the formation of a community of learners; help the learners feel a sense of ‘connectedness’. As with all new classes we, as teachers, work hard in the first few classes of a course to create a positive group dynamic – we want the group to gel. However, with online learning environments the set of social skills required to create a group dynamic are different to those needed in a F2F classroom environment. The teacher has learn how to interact socially online and use this knowledge to help promote social interactions between herself and the learners and between the learners themselves. But, it’s just not about wanting to create a positive rapport to help learners feel part of a learning community for its own sake,  there might be some sound pedagogical reasons as well. I found this quote from Motteram (2001)  useful: “In order for our students to reflect effectively on their past teaching experiences, they have to feel comfortable with the other course participants. Being comfortable with others and with themselves helps people to become more receptive to new ideas”

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