OK, well I am skipping ahead to this post even though I have not completed post 4 – I think I will need the help of my 12 year old for that one! So, what have I learned…
Although I don’t particularly care to look at photos of myself, much less videos, I have learned that such things can play a pivotal role in connecting students to the course in general and to me in particular. I wish I had taken this course before developing my OL courses, as I would have built those intro components directly into the course when I had access to those wonderful technologically gifted people in media development. It makes sense how personalizing the instructor would draw students into the course and help to keep them engaged. I will definitely work on developing an intro video that I am happy to share with students as a way engage them.
Other key ideas from this course that will stick with me are the different modes of interaction to be considered within the context of the course content, as well as the idea of social presence being more than just feeling welcome in the course but about common purpose. I appreciated the strategies offered in the course for promoting social presence and I will endeavour to use these in my interactions with students. I will also review the media components that are included in my courses to see if they fit with the principles for effectiveness of instructional multimedia materials in lesson 3. If they do not, I will use that knowledge to offer students some “pretraining” in order to ensure that their learning experience is maximized.
Overall, I feel that this course offers useful information for promoting social presence in the idealistic sense. But the questions that remain for me stem more from the realistic sense that there are some students who are really hard to engage for reasons that may be unrelated to the course content or the instructor’s ability or social presence. I do not yet know if or how these situations will manifest in OL courses, but I assume they will, so I just wonder how to address that. I will speak to senior OLFMs to get more insight into this question.