Annotated bibliography – Online Teaching Techniques

The purpose of the annotated bibliography was to find, study and share materials related to online teaching techniques. First an attempt was made to set a definition or ground for the notion “teaching techniques”. Then it was established that since traditional and online teaching are different, effective online instructors need to follow key strategies. An example of a technique used to assess generic competences was presented – the e-portfolio. A set of eleven Web 2.0 tools was given as they enhance learning potential. Finally we referred to an ultimate tool/method – Second Life.

1. Paulsen, Morten. “Teaching methods and techniques for computer-mediated communication”. (Retrieved April 2, 2010)

In this article Professor Paulsen sticks to his theory of cooperative freedom, which argues that (adult) distance students need individual flexibility and freedom as well as group collaboration and social unity. Teaching and learning take place within a system whose opportunities and constraints can be dealt according to the teaching methods and techniques applied.The system environment for his theory is one that applies Stubbs and Burnham's electronic distance education system on a Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) based teaching system. It comprises learners, teacher, content, methods, techniques, and devices. A very relevant attempt to set a definition for the three components which constitute the process of adult education follows. Methods - based on Verner’s general distinction between individual and group methods, Paulsen adopts a framework of four learning approaches based on the four communication paradigms often used in CMC: one-alone ,one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many.
Techniques - A pedagogical technique is a manner of accomplishing teaching objectives.
Devices - are instruments, audio-visual aids, physical arrangements, materials, etc., that enhance the education process. Four major devices are established to the four CMC methods: information retrieval systems, electronic mail systems, bulletin board systems, and computer conferencing systems.
Although Professor’s table of methods, techniques, and devices applied in a CMC-based teaching system is somehow outdated, the article is important to clarify the notion of teaching techniques which is our working theme in this unit.   

2. Treacy, Barbara (2007). “What’s Different about Teaching Online?” EdTech Leaders Online (Retrived 10 April 2010)

The author believes that the teacher remains the single most important factor for the student’s success either in the virtual or traditional classroom because good courses require good teachers. Opportunities and challenges are connected to the set of skills and requirements when you become an online teacher. She states that effective online instructors need training and ongoing professional development to build up their online teaching skills. This training is needed because there are key differences in the online classroom concerning the curriculum, the social dynamic, assessment strategies, and technical challenges. Then she provides nine key strategies for effective online teachers.
It is important to understand the basic differences between traditional and online teaching. Another basic but still important idea is that online instructors need training and professional development. Methods, approaches and strategies (not necessarily new ones) will be adopted/adapted to this new learning system. The more it is explained and commented the better we will realize its importance. 

3. Krämer, J., & Seeber, G. (2009, September). "E-portfolios as tools to assess generic competences in distance learning study courses." eLearning Papers (Retrieved April 2, 2010)

This paper concentrates on university distance learning courses with e-learning processes and on the need to evaluate students’ performance. The intention is to develop an assessment portfolio which at the same time integrates elements of self-reflection and feedback. First, the authors sketch the underlying competence model and identify generic competences as a part of academic goals. Next, they refer to the institutional and organizational background of distance learning courses. This leads to the necessity to practice assessments and to some conclusions on the arrangement of portfolios. As a last basic step they define the portfolio method according to the purpose of assessment. In the second part they draw some conclusions and assume that portfolios are appropriate for stimulating creative, collaborative and scientific learning strategies to set up the referring generic competences. They close the paper with some final considerations and suggestions on designing assessment portfolios.
An e-portfolio is a digital compilation of documents describing a particular learning process or a whole learning biography. Portfolios have been increasingly used in all kinds of learning environments and institutions since the 1990s. This paper might be useful if you are interested in implementing and assessing e-portfolios.

4. Peachey, Nik. Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers (e-book at Scribd)

Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers                                                                   

The document is intended as a simple introduction to some free Web 2.0 type tools that can be used by teachers who are interested in using technology in language teaching. It is conceived as a manual for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers describing to use a number of web based tools and learning technologies to assist in language development. It includes instructions on how to use the tools as well as teaching suggestions and examples. There are 11 tools included and these can be used to create a range of teaching activities that include all four communication skills including speaking. 
Nik Peachey is a freelance educational consultant, writer and teacher trainer specializing in web based technologies for language learning and development. Although the tools explored in this e-book are directed to language teachers, the tools can be put to good use by online teachers to extent opportunities, enhance learning potential and develop the level of digital literacy that students will need for the 21st century.
Nik Peachey has just been brainstorming digital skills that he believes are required by teachers in the 21st Century. He has come up with 45 of them as well as striking comments:
  • few of the skills will have been taught to anyone who trained as a teacher longer than 5 years ago;
  • few of these skills are being taught to teachers training now;
  • the 21st century teacher needs to be a pretty amazingly skilled professional.
Are you prepared to 21st century e-learning?
Look through the list and tick on the ones you believe you have. Share your results and comments.

5. Warburton, Steven (2008). “Virtual spaces, Second lives: what are the potential educational benefits of MUVEs.” JISC innovating e-learning online conference 4-7th November 2008 (Retrived 8 April, 2010).

This was a presentation given at the annual King's College London Institute of Learning and Teaching conference, aimed at highlighting current educational research within the institution and disseminating good practice. The talk is a kind of introduction to Second Life (SL) as a social virtual world. It articulates issues that make SL a challenging yet compelling arena for teaching activities. The talk considers how a first phase of simply diving in-world and trying things out is being extended by a second phase of serious research activity.
Using Dr Warburton’s own words (1), the emphasis in this work is to explore how teachers in short duration SL competency building classes have appropriated virtual spaces and have made use of tools and techniques that may be valuable in understanding what good practice is in MUVE-based teaching. The slides show the culmination of the preliminary data analysis in the form of a taxonomy of practices and a matrix that elaborates four areas of teaching that are formed by axes addressing control of the environment and pedagogical approach. The conclusions are that good practice in these workshops is exemplified by maintaining a close control over the teaching space combined with a reflective and process orientated teaching approach.
SL could be the ultimate example of a many-to-many online teaching technique. This presentation elucidates clearly the affordances for education.

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