Online Instruction: Teaching the Learners and the Teachers

I think that our goal as instructors is to take the best aspects of objectivism, constructivism, and connectivism, discussed by Bates in Teaching the Digital Age, and apply those the courses we teach. I discussed some of the positive aspects of lecturing in my previous post, and how those could be brought into an online environment, both asynchronously and synchronously, with tools such as live webcasts, video recordings, and media produced by experts in the respective field (I think of how often I have viewed TED talks in my course work in the DLL program.) I spoke in my literature review about bridging the gap between the LMS and collaborative Web 2.0 tools, and am planning on adding many of the features discussed below to my a course I am developing in Canvas LMS:
Figure 7.7 from Teaching the Digital Age by Tony Bates (2015)

  • Adding social networking features to LMS would allow students to collaborate more easily in real time due to social media availability on mobile devices, see who had received and read the communications, and have an easier overview of who were active participants. This would benefit learning and engagement, due to enhanced communications, greater opportunities for networking and teamwork, faster and easier sharing of resources and information.
  • Ebooks from textbook publishers may now be accessed from computers and mobile devices and include audio and video media, simulations and checks for understanding like polls, surveys and quizzes.
  • Newer forms of video-discussion on social learning platforms like Flipgrid can be used asynchronously, with videos saved to a cloud-based forum that other users can access and respond to at a later time.
  • Shared documents, spreadsheets and slideshows may be accessed either through LMS or external applications like Google Suite, and may be collaborated on synchronously or asynchronously; multiple users may collaborate with the ability to edit and comment on the same artifact.
  • Blogs allow the user to share information, opinions, and views on a personalized platform, whether in text or video, on platforms such as Blogger or YouTube, with other users having the ability to leave comments, creating a system of ownership and peer feedback. 
  • Wikis allow multiple users to contribute to and edit a common body of knowledge in a collaborative writing space, creating a resource that can be referenced by the whole learning community.

    The integration of collaborative Web 2.0 in higher education has shown to improve student outcomes, in terms of problem-solving, engagement, and the development of college and career readiness and future-focused skills. The use of these in the 21st century education setting can no longer be considered innovation, as they are increasingly how we interact with each other and the world. Educators need to combine the best aspects of the LMS, such as reliability and archivability, with the personalized and collaborative learning processes that interactive Web 2.0 tools make possible.

Figure 9.1.2 from Teaching in the Digital Age by Tony Bates (2015)
Being completely online, the undergraduate college course I am designing will be towards one end of the continuum of technology based instruction. Students will be able to access it asynchronously on their own devices, and will not be required to do any tasks in person on campus. Students will have an opportunity to meet with the instructor every week by video conference, giving them an opportunity to discuss the week ahead's learning with the instructor, receive instructions on the required activities, and bring up any questions or concerns they might have. To encourage attendance, so that students may benefit from face-to-face interaction with the instructor, they are required to be present for 80% of the meetings as a part of the group projects grade; there will be at least two sessions a week, at different times, to give all students the opportunity to attend. There are also some opportunities for students to complete projects and research in person on campus using resources that are available such as personnel, libraries, meetings and student organizations.
I once designed and facilitated a 7 week professional development course for a content-area team of teachers at at the high school where I was a teacher; this was my first try at designing an online course. The course was designed to introduce the teachers to blended learning using the Google Suite; many of the learning activities for them also modeled have what they could do with their students. The force was designed as a hybrid with meetings every one or two weeks, allowing me to model certain activities face-to-face, as if it were in a real classroom with students, and also allowing the teachers participating collaborate in person, receive feedback and also provide me with ongoing feedback.

In the age of digital learning, we need to not only develop the digital skills in our educators, but also help them implement those skills in designing their curriculum . Educators need to identify areas that need improvement on student outcomes, and would lend themselves to to technology integration, using technology as a tool to fix what has failed with traditional methods. The integration might take several forms, such as blended learning, flipped classroom activities, student ePortfolio projects and integration of technology into data collection and analysis of math, science labs etc. Aside from the curriculum development itself, the schools and colleges will need to also examine their systems of mentoring, coaching, collaboration and feedback which will allow for the incorporation of a cycle of continuous improvement into professional learning and student outcomes.


Bates, A.W. (2015) Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Retrieved from


  1. What an amazing article. I totally agree with you we can create a learning and teaching environment with the help of online classes and video tutorials. We can find different type of study materials like e-books, documents and pdf's from online websites and applications. My friend is a teacher and recently he suggests me Online Teaching Platform. which helps my child a lot to find study material according to his requirements


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