Ok, here we go. The purpose of this blog is to serve as a platform for me to share everything I've learned about distance education with you. The world is changing and distance education is only going to grow and become more prevalent in our society. I know there are books, conferences, associations, and gurus available to help instructors rock the online world. However, they all just felt a little stuffy and disconnected from what would really help the instructors on the front lines. I want to put our truly valuable, easy to use resources for instructors to use now. The type of content that I wish I had when I first started teaching online 3 years ago.
I'm one of the lucky ones. My education career started in a 6th grade classroom. I had just finished my college courses on pedagogy theory and I was ready to put it all into practice. From classroom management to English language learner teaching strategies to lesson objectives and assessments, I used every opportunity to hone my educator skills. After a couple of grade changes and a couple of country changes, I was ready to share my knowledge with future teachers. I started my college instructor career. Only after 3 terms teaching college students, I took the opportunity to become the instructional designer for the college's growing distance education program.
Sitting in my new office with instructional designer on my door, I felt proud as I had finally reached an ultimate position to assist college instructors implement their knowledge of online pedagogy in their courses. I learned a few key points in the first 3 months on the job:
1) College instructors have hearts of pure gold. Every instructor is there for the success of their students and their of love of the discipline.
2) College instructors have a lot on their plate at any given point of the year.
3) College instructors are not required to have any training in pedagogy.
As a previous K-12 teacher, the first 2 points where not a huge surprise, but that last one...
Luckily, I worked at a college who was open to any trainings, resources, and developments I could create. It became my mission to give those college educators truly helpful tools for them to lessen their work load so they could provide quality instruction that is focused on their students.
So...Leveraging eLearning (LeL) Blog
So, here we are. A blog dedicated to supporting faculty in a couple of ways:
1) Blog posts with value - I love solving problems and boy don't we understand that the newness of distance education contains many mysterys. Through these blog posts, I'll provide answers to common and uncommon issues in online education.
2) Freebies - Resources I'm creating with real instructors in mind (myself included). Theories and methods are great, but putting them into practice with step-by-step guides is my specialty.
3) Instructional Design (ID) Services - Hands on help is sometimes the only way to go. I can help you elevate your online instruction in a one-on-one training and design package. Most instructional designers obtain the content, assess the needs, design the course, and hand it back. I love efficiency, but this seems like a missed golden opportunity for course design training. I've designed ID services packages focused instructor values for course design and training.
Taking the Risk
Here I am taking the risk of putting myself, my knowledge, and my heart out there. Scary, right?! Here's the thing...it's totally worth it. If I can help one online instructor feel less stressed, connect with a student, proud of their course design, feel confident in a new skill, then it is all worth it because I know those changes ultimately reach a student. And that my friends is how we change the world.
Nicole Mace believes that distance education is a true game changer. She has spent close to a decade in education and spends her free time reading anything she can get her hands on about online learning.
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