Adaptive learning is hailed as a means of offering students a personalized education, and thus is being backed by a variety of supporters, including the well-funded Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Implementing adaptive learning systems takes time and effort, but with the proper planning any institution can incorporate adaptive learning into its curriculum.
Online Classroom Current Issue: December 2017
New online faculty and course developers must understand that moving from face-to-face teaching to online teaching requires a change in mind-set from content creator to content curator. The web is a fundamentally visual medium, so videos are normally the best medium for delivering most types of instruction.
Study guides and answer keys are common items in every classroom, and for self-motivated students, they may be all that is necessary to prepare for an exam. However, for students with lower proficiency or lower motivation, more coaching may be necessary to help them get on the right track. One solution is the private forum feature on American University of Kuwait’s Learning Management System (LMS), which can be a useful way to help students store documents, assess their own knowledge, and build test prep materials. Students can easily access documents online without worrying about losing information. Moodle Advanced Forum is an excellent tool, but the idea can be replicated in any forum-type activity that can be adjusted for private groups. Once private forums have been created, students can begin filling them with classwork and assignments that will form a study portfolio for the class.
Teaching is fundamentally about communicating, and all communication begins with getting your audience’s attention. You may propose to your spouse by writing “I love you” in the sand. You may speak to your son about behavior problems by moving him to the kitchen table, turning off all distractions, looking him in the eyes, and starting with “We need to talk.” Martin Luther King did not begin with “I will present eight reasons why Blacks should have the same rights as Whites,” but rather “I have a dream” because the metaphor of a dream captured and kept his audience’s attention.
While it might seem that the online classroom, as a reflection of academia, is a cordial and polite space for discussion, those in the trenches know that bullying and political unrest can show up even there. One problem gaining recognition is microaggressions. According to Merriam-Webster, a microaggression is “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).”