DEOET TIG Week: Tara Shepperson on the Many Aspects of eLearning, eTeaching, and Educational Technologies

Hello! I’m Tara Shepperson, Chair of the Distance Education and Other Educational Technologies (DEOET) TIG of AEA, and Associate Professor in Educational Leadership at Eastern Kentucky University. Over the past two years, several issues have converged leading this TIG in a more focused direction:

Growth of elearning is focusing our members on the big topics around teaching and learning using technologies. No longer is it about the latest technology. We have all learned that is in a constant state of change. So, we are now exploring those larger elements that encapsulate managing, teaching, and learning across space, both in real time and at the time of participants’ choosing.

This week of tips will include some ideas how as evaluators we may consider a host of perspectives that impact teaching, design, resources, and learning. These revolve around what I like to call the six S’s: strategies, structures, spaces, students, styles, and sources.

With fewer or no face-to-face interactions, teaching strategies change. Instructor lectures, student discussions, and the give-and-take of traditional classrooms take on new forms and demand new strategies. Structures from the syllabus to presentations must be reworked to better meet the interactive and more visual designs of new learning spaces. With these new forms, comes increased student-control of learning and the need to reconsider how teaching accommodates diverse learning styles. Finally, the availability of sources for course content and student referencing must be considered.

Lessons Learned: Distance learning and educational technology is about much more than the technological tools. It is not an either-or. Rather, interactions take place on a broad spectrum from fully remote and student-centered to blended or hybrid (with some face-to-face or other real time interaction).

Lessons Learned: Distance learning and educational technology also includes a growing list of multi-media options for class work, meetings, or teacher-student conferencing that influence learning and training experiences.

Hot Tip: Be thoughtful about the types of information you seek in an evaluation. Often course online formats and end-of-course surveys or the same throughout a district, college, or university. If you want answers about course development or teacher/student experiences, the availability of that information may be more challenging.

Rad Resource: An ongoing forum about teaching and especially online learning, the Faculty Focus Newletter offers suggestions to instructors and ideas for evaluators.

Rad Resource: JOLT– the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching provides peer-reviewed articles on web-based instruction.

Rad Resource: The non-profit organization EDUCAUSE focused on the role of instructional technology at college and universities, covering research, security, and other issues relevant to Higher Education.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating DEOET TIG Week with our colleagues in the Distance Education and Other Educational Technologies Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our DEOET TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “DEOET TIG Week: Tara Shepperson on the Many Aspects of eLearning, eTeaching, and Educational Technologies”

  1. I found your comment on how the key to eLearning is not having to keep up with technology but exploring methods of delivery intriguing. Even though I like to think I am up to date with my technology I am overwhelmed with the constant stream of new program choices. Luckily when I taught online courses the school board used the same source that I use in my own eLearning courses but I was unfamiliar with many of the multi-media options available to the students. Usually I was able figure it out but with some submissions I had to ask students to change the medium in which it was submitted simply because I could not view it.

    While I do agree with your lesson learned about using multi-media sources, my own experiences leave me hesitant to expand too much. As a student I keep it simple and do not face many problems but as an instructor it was difficult to manage the submissions from my students. It was easier to have multi-media tasks online verse in-class, because students could choose their method/resource of delivery. However it made it more difficult to help with technological problems and often frustrated students when they needed assistance. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can over come this problem? Putting regulations in place may help cut the issues faced on the teaching end of eLearning but it cannot always accommodate student technology access and ability.

    Your RAD Resources will definitely be a resource I use when designing a unit/class that accesses eLearning on a regular basis. JLORT seems like a source I can easily use in the moment when I am facing an eLearning problem. I do not know many people with eLearning experience so having this wealth of knowledge is a comfort.

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