My Teaching Philosophy:
Students that learn within an on-line environment must work much harder than traditional students. Not only is the reading time more intense, the comprehension must be unsurpassed. The distant adjunct must understand this and be able to help students with the comprehension process. The methods to accomplish this task differ depending on the academic institution and tools available for both adjunct and student. That said there are certain methods that should be utilized no matter what the academic situation. These include constant communication, immediate feedback, and mentoring.
My teaching philosophy focuses on the S.T.U.D.E.N.T.
Support the learner in developing ownership for the overall problem or task.
When we allow the student to take ownership of the tasks, they feel empowered to express their own ideas. In my classrooms, I encourage my students to apply tasks to real life events so they can experience how the theories work in the real world. That said I also encourage them to substantiate their ideas with solid reasoning and evidence.
Design the learning environment to support and challenge the learner's thinking.
I find that with students that are returning to school after an absence are hungry to be challenged and apply the concepts to their own lives. My role as an instructor is to help students think outside of box by teaching how to think critically and embrace this wonderful world of diversity. This means that we must teach them to think beyond their own understanding and biases. It is my commitment to teach my students how to think critically and logically about the subject they are studying. With that said, successful on-line education requires that both the instructor and the student are committed to success.
Understanding & Reflection
Understanding and Reflection on both the content learned and the learning process.
Understanding and reflection are achieved through constant feedback and questioning. Reflection requires efforts on the part of both student and instructor. How do we know what we need to change, if no one has informed us that there needs to be a change? Communication channels must be established and open. I never make the assumption that my students understand everything, therefore I make sure that they have access to me for the purpose of clarification.
Todayís students are learning the concepts of diversity and change.
Many students have been out of school for years and are just returning because they recognize that knowledge and education are vital to success in business. Like Lionniís Fish, our students are entering into a metamorphosis far from the memories of academia in their past experiences. They must learn how to adjust; however, the initial shock can be quite overwhelming. In the context of this metaphor, it is up to us as faculty to help the student embrace this change and grow with this change so they can adapt easily in the real world.
Focus on change and diversity gives the students the opportunity to understand the differences. Obviously sometimes getting past our own biases is easier said than done; however, with each session the student takes, with each new instructor that mentors the student, and with each new experience that can be related from school to real world, we take one more step into opening up the studentís mind.
As we move into a technology driven society, education is the key to success.
Those individuals that want to stay ahead of the curve know that knowledge is the key to success and they must seek out education in order to gain a competitive advantage in the job market. And they have the right to a great education using the most advanced tools and literature available. It is my desire to help them meet their educational goals.
ďThe Whole of life is learning, therefore education can have no endings.Ē (Lindeman, 1926)
The needs of students must be met.
In a student-centered learning environment, it is my intention to recognize the needs of my students. My ultimate goal is the success of each student that passes within the virtual walls of my classroom. This requires understanding, empathy, and the ability to help each student succeed by making available the tools and instruction necessary for success.
New techniques require us to renew and embrace change.
Change is constant making it necessary to embrace changes in tools and technology as they are made available to academic institutions. The ability to change as needed and to use new techniques is vital to the success of the student, instructor and University. This means moving away from the traditional methods of instruction and embracing new methods.
Allen, T. et al. Dragnet ecology--"just the facts, ma'am": The privilege of science in a postmodern world. Bioscience. Washington: Jun 2001.Vol.51, Iss. 6; pg. 475, 11 pgs
Leo Lionniís Fish is Fish (1970). ~http://www.lclark.edu/~ault/chapter_two_the_whale's_tale_fo r_SCI_st udents.htm
Lindeman, E. C. (1926a) The Meaning of Adult Education, New York: New Republic. Republished in a new edition in 1989 by The Oklahoma Research Center for Continuing Professional and Higher Education. Retrieved September 20, 2005 from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-lind.htm