Distance and Motivation!

There have been a lot of talks about motivation for learner. What is it that will keep them hooked to something that they may lose interest in. this article talks about the motivation for the teachers. That is a very interesting thing as I myself never wondered about it till today.

Should these teachers be different than the ones who are teaching live classes? Do teachers from other fields than education; need to be trained on the finer aspects of distance education and how a distance learner is different than a regular in class learner?

There has been a lot said and done on learner motivation. This is the first time that I have read something that deals with motivation and returns for distance teachers. It has been an interesting article to read and the question I have top off my head is whether the motivation for tradition classroom instructors is different than this.

On the basis of this article, I thought it would be interesting to find out what kind of technology are other faculty members at IU from other departments using as a part of their teaching. I had a short conversation about my Web 2.0 class with my roommate over the weekend. She was fascinated with the idea that I have to post a blog as a part of my assignment. She has no idea what podcasts were and said that they used very little integrative technology to learn. I found this very interesting and was wondering how much technology will be really used in other departments and schools which do not really deal with technology as a subject.

Moreover, after reading about the ION effort it struck me that instructors and teachers who take online classes need to be quite proficient at the technology they are using. According to the findings, the logistical time is increased in developing a distance class, which makes it all the more essential that the person taking the class is completely aware and confident of what he is doing.

To tie this in with the ION effort- goals of the ION initiative are precisely targeted at taking care of these issues. Offering a Master of Online Teacher certification is one of the best ways to acknowledge the increase of an instructor’s role from formal classroom teaching to being a pro at distance teaching. The findings show a great amount of increase in the confidence levels of the faculty after taking the certification. The overall statistics in the article prove that the initiative was pretty successful and made a difference for the instructors. I would like to throw up a few observations here…..what was the profile of the instructors who take this certification? Are they from a specific background where they constantly need to upgrade their technological skills? The advent of internet demands that now the whole world should change and get used to a more integrated approach to not just education but life in general. After sitting in Prof Bonk’s classes the realization of this integration and its strength has finally dawned upon me. Is it necessary for traditional classroom teachers to be good at distance teaching as well? Or can a specialized distance teacher play a better role, someone who has never been involved in traditional face to face teaching? Will such a teacher understand the finer points of distance students, the way they function, much better? It would be very interesting to look into something this, if there exists a teacher who has never been a part of the traditional way of teaching.

Although the findings have rated flexible schedule and wider audience as number two and three, I don’t think these can hold together in the longer run. There is something very tangible in face to face learning that is missing in a distance program as an instructor. The instructor has to rely on a lot of clear and concise communication with the help of technology to understand his students. Apart from being a logistical and financial headache, I am not sure how much distance learning can play a satisfying role in an instructors life.

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2 Responses to “Distance and Motivation!”

  1. Evren Says:

    Good questions; both inquiring the broader conditions and comparative cases. To one of your questions ‘whether the motivation for tradition classroom instructors is different than this’, I can say -as a former mathematics teacher- motivators like flexible scheduling, wider audience are not possible; but self-satisfaction, intellectual challenge are the ones eligible for both, I think.

    On the other hand, some online MBA professors say that “the most enjoyable part of residential teaching is when ‘sometimes all of a sudden in the middle of a class a student’s face just kind of lights up… they are starting to understand something.’ And not being able to see this was what some instructors missed most in an online environment” (see the article ‘What Do Online MBA Professors Have to Say About Online Teaching’.)

    In conclusion, I agree with your final paragraph and say: Let’s Blend!

  2. Curt Bonk Says:

    Yes, the ION study is a good one to read. I presented to them a few years back. Good people. I will present some of this tonight. I wonder if I should also present on instructor hesistancy and resistance as well. Humm…nice blog post. I think FTF and online incentives are similar in some ways and different in others. May depend on life stages.

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