[ProfessionalDevelopment 1464] Re: Pros and cons of e-learning at your desk

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Nadia and Kevin Colby thecolbys at prodigy.net
Fri Jul 27 21:10:16 EDT 2007


I don't have experience with on line courses.
Basically the on line interactive professional
development I have been exposed to is this discussion
list.

City University tends to be generous, all things
considered, with paid professional development. Both
the ESL/Civics and the ESL programs at the New York
City College of Technology have different incentives
for instructors. And I think all of us appreciate
them.

Frankly, though, to learn in depth about certain
subjects we must make the time... and the money. At
least this is my experience as a part time teacher and
a part time student. Nights and weekends are needed
when a class turns out to be very demanding.

Paid professional development makes a difference. And
so does the support of program coordinators and the
leadership of program directors, without a doubt.
However, learning in depth and doing quality research
requires probably more time than what full time
instructors have, just to prepare classes and complete
paper work.

Lenore Balliro suggests learning goals that go beyond
prep time, such as doing research about our students
cultures or learning about workers' rights, or the
correct use of commas. One way to systematize and
encourage self learning can be studying circles that
allow instructors to share quality research with
colleagues. Maybe paid time for this research could
be rotated among instructors throughout teaching
cycles. The reward would not be solely monetary. It
enhances instructors' skills and motivation.

Cristine Smith and Marilin Gillespie suggest bringing
the experts to our work places as it is done in K-12
settings through coaches and mentors. And the idea is
great especially if it adds learning cycles that are
taught as a seminar where every person participates,
and knowledge is built in the learning community. To
an extent this is the only way we can get to know our
colleagues better and use their expertise when needed.

On line learning in the job may be good for mini
tutorials and learning goals limited by time. It is a
step forward. Marilyn Gillespie and Cristine Smith
conclude that teachers are the key to students'
success. I think they are right. But, overall,
instructors might agree that more time and money are
needed to become the "other learners" (face to face,
on line, or both) who will have the most positive
impact on students.

Nadia Quiroz-Colby





--- Lenore Balliro <lenore_balliro at worlded.org> wrote:


> I agree with Janet that anything prolonged and in

> depth requires time off work. But we can encourage

> teachers to do their own investigation on shorter

> topics that enhance their professional development.

> Maybe not a complete e-course, but some self

> directed learning is certainly possible at the desk.

> For example, teachers could research information

> about their students' home countries and political

> histories. Counselors could investigate various

> "codes of ethics" held by professional counseling

> associations, and so on. Whatever teachers learn

> could be shared at a staff meeting. I am thinking in

> terms of topics beyond the immediate teaching prep

> needs. If we think of professional development in

> manageable chunks as a one option, e-learning at

> work is a good way to go. The key would be

> systematizing, encouraging, and supporting it. I

> have also taken on-line quizzes to assess my

> knowledge of certain areas. (Do I really know the

> rules for commas? How much do I know about workers'

> rights?) Then I can set about filling in my

> knowledge gaps.

> Lenore Balliro

>

> >>> Janet Isserlis <Janet_Isserlis at brown.edu>

> 07/27/07 3:46 PM >>>

> Having just completed the second of four modules of

> an online course, I'd

> say it depends.

>

> This particular course covers material with which

> I'm very familiar, and as

> I'm auditing it (and mostly previewing it rather

> than completing every

> assignment in detail), I've found that I was very

> much able to complete it

> during my regular work day - in 10 and 15 minute

> chunks.

>

> However, I've participated in other courses with

> more demanding workloads -

> larger and more complex readings, and required

> (lengthy) responses to be

> posted to the entire group of participants. I think

> one's motivation (as a

> learner) is a big factor. If this is something I

> want to learn and really

> be engaged in, I can't really do it during 'regular'

> hours - I either stay

> late, come in early, or work at night/on the

> weekends.

>

> If it's a more cursory commitment, I can do it

> during the course of the day.

>

> others?

>

> Janet Isserlis

>

>

> > From: "David J. Rosen" <djrosen at comcast.net>

> > Reply-To: The Adult Literacy Professional

> Development Discussion List

> > <professionaldevelopment at nifl.gov>

> > Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 15:28:41 -0400

> > To: The Adult Literacy Professional Development

> Discussion List

> > <professionaldevelopment at nifl.gov>, The Technology

> and Literacy Discussion

> > List <technology at nifl.gov>

> > Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1461] Pros and

> cons of e-learning at your

> > desk

> >

> > Technology and Professional Development

> Colleagues,

> >

> > In a recent "Breakthrough Briefing" newsletter

> from eLearn Campus,

> >

> > http://tinyurl.com/3xcquv

> >

> > Rick Nigol asks "Can You e-Learn at Your Desk? "

> and lists the

> > following pros and cons from a polling Elliot

> Masie did of readers of

> > his Learning Trends online newsletter. Nigol lists

> the following as

> > the pros and cons:

> >

> > "The 'pro' side arguments tended to be centred

> around the following

> > points:

> >

> > € We all multitask all day, every day, why

> couldn't eLearning fit

> > into this mix?

> > € We tend to learn best in small chunks anyway,

> and can fit this into

> > our working day while at our desks

> > € Finding time to squeeze eLearning into your

> schedule is simply a

> > matter of making an appointment with yourself and

> putting everything

> > else aside while you do it

> >

> > The 'anti' side arguments tended to be centred

> around the following

> > points:

> >

> > € There are far too many distractions (e.g.

> email, phone, instant

> > messages, pagers, bosses, co-workers, etc.) in

> most workplaces to be

> > able to concentrate on deep learning while at your

> desk

> > € There is no such thing as "do not disturb" in

> the modern workplace,

> > you are "always available," so forget about the

> 'schedule time for

> > yourself' argument

> > € You need quiet time away from all the noise,

> distractions, and

> > interruptions of your workstation to make real

> progress with eLearning"

> >

> > Nigol's question is pertinent for designers of

> online learning for

> > adult literacythis? We might say -- I certainly

> have said this --

> > whenever they can, whatever works for them.

> Suppose however that

> > they really can't do this on work time, that the

> level and kind of

> > engagement that we expect is impossible with the

> demands and

> > distractions of an adult education workplace, then

> aren't we really

> > saying that we expect them to do this unpaid on

> their own time, and

> > that we hope they do this because they are

> "professionals" and would

> > want to improve themselves? Shouldn't we, instead,

> be paying them for

> > this professional development time, and if so, how

> should we do it?

> > Or shouldn't we provide monetary or other

> incentives for completing

> > online (and other) professional development?

> >

> > What are your thoughts?

> >

> >

> > David J. Rosen

> > djrosen at comcast.net

> >

> >

> >

> >

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