Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Second Course: A Rocky Start

Steven Curtis Chapman in his song Pray sings “when you say ‘Amen’ just start up again.”  That is how I feel about these summer online endorsement courses; I just get done with one and I have to immediately start again with another one. Unfortunately my start has been rather rocky.  Literally, I went camping at Devil’s Lake state park and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) had no access to the internet, or moodles, or blogs, or blackboards.  So, I am now behind and trying frantically to catch-up.

This weeks focus on the e-learning pedagogy seems to be in contrast to normal upper-level and adult education.  Pedagogy has long been associated with the concept of “telling” our kids what they have to know; whereas andragogy has always been our goal in older youth and adult education.  We want to have our students become “self-motivated” by the learning so they will want and desire to learn more.  It seems to be an oxymoron to say we are really discussing the pedagogy of andragogy, but in essence that is what we have been doing.  We have been discussing the requirements for creating an e-environment which will motivate our students to be intrinsically motivated to learn.  E-learning to be effective requires this internal motivation to be successful.  Students who have no motivation would find it hard to take on-line courses such as Waukesha’s Q program.  The balance of internal and external motivation is really the crutch for e-success.  The real discussion after setting the technology stage is knowing when to let go of the bike and let the student ride and possibly fall by themselves. 

 There is no real perfect pedagogy to learning anyway as all students are unique. The studies we read about are based upon a general consensus and very few kids are really “normal.”  As teachers we will still have to tweak and modify and prescription our student’s e-experiences in order to make them proficient and profitable. 

Well, that is all the ramblings I can do for now.  I have to read some of my cohort’s blogs.  Until next week…


  1. i hope your missions work went well in New Orleans. I wish your blog was about that instead of pedagogy, but I guess that would be off-topic a bit. : ) Back to your blog- I agree that the motivation factor could be really tough. I have noticed that our students who work online seem engaged for a while, but eventually lose some interest. I know a few tricks about how to motivate students in person, but would feel much more limited online.

  2. What do you think some ways to motivate students are and how are they different in an online environment compared to a face-to-face environment

    1. Personal interests (topics) and student ownership are two of the best ways to build intrinsic motivation. Yes, technology is a natural motivator to today's youth, but only momentarily. Just like anything, when an innovation becomes the standard, youth look for something else that is new or different. Consider shock radio formats or "viral" videos on YouTube. It is that "change" and sometimes uniqueness that sparks motivation in a classroom or online course. The teacher needs to use the "innovation of the moment" to spark an opportunity for learning. The gadget is not the core of the education but does go a long way to creating an opportunity or environment for motivated learning.