Once again, I struggled to draw positives from the readings I completed this week. To their vast credit, the pieces were thorough, well-written and feature very helpful visuals. However, I became increasingly hung-up over the idea that each article’s solutions were falling victim to their very-own identified barriers. For example, in her article Learning Design and Open Education, Grainne Conole concluded that “OER and MOOCs are not been used extensively by teachers and learners” and that teachers require “appropriate Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to harness the potential of digital technologies and specifically the need for new digital literacies”…but what teachers have time for that, unless mandated by their employer? What higher-ed instructor professor would do that, when they often lack the prerequisites to teaching methodology in the first place?
Thankfully, I think I’ve figured out why I am only cynical and critical of the course material so far, particularly this module. During our class discussion at the end of of our week, I shared my take on the Dublin City University article, Teaching Online is Different: Critical Perspectives from the Literature. The report highlighted the requirements and challenges of effective online teaching, then added the ways a teacher could be to meet those requirements. My perspective on the report’s recommendations is that there is no difference in how online teachers are trained/taught compared to face-to-face teachers; while the practice of either method is vastly different; the report’s advice to online teachers was to just simply strive to be the ideal teacher in general. Well, no kidding, right?
This made me feel the report was a huge waste. My instructor (Michael Paskevicius) responded and indicated that perhaps it is not necessary for a report like “Teaching Online…” to delineate face-to-face teaching and teaching online in congruence; one discussion can be had without the other. I thought about this overnight. Considering my antagonal reflex and face-to-face teacher lens, I imagine once reading the report I was instantly perturbed by the lack of relevance to my own practice and the “teacher college” level of recommendations in the article. I should consider that perhaps if I compartmentalize the online education from face-to-face education, perhaps I will be able to engage with more of a positive outlook.
However, it is very difficult for me to consider why this matters; I don’t teach online. Another reflex I suppose…I tend to consider whatever I’m learning valuable if it only has value to me. Moving forward, I am going to try to keep the challenges which my online teaching colleagues (from U-connect) mentioned. I found their their workload and overall academic spread quite surprising, and realized that they are very few advocates for them out there with their particular student body (K-12) in mind.
To (attempt) to put it succinctly: I want to stop reading about OERs in higher-ed and want to read more about OERs in K-12. My first step to enable this will be to put the contrast against face-to-face teaching aside, as it indirectly shuts down the discussions about OERs in general.