Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Who Are My Online Students This Semester?

I have had the privilege of having Educational Leadership students in my distance ed courses from all around the world. I also have a cohort of Instructional Technology Masters students and a class of Undergraduate Teacher Education students from primarily Iowa.

6:00 AM Crowd (9:00 PM in Korea. Last two are in Iowa and Texas)
International Students: This semester, most of my international students join me through the Masters Degree in International Teacher Leader Program taught by the UNI Educational Leadership and PostSecondary Education graduate program. They are building tomorrow’s education leaders through a program with American Schools in Europe, Western-Central-Eastern Asia, and the US.   I teach a course, Selecting and Integrating Instructional Technologies, which is required in their program. I am constantly impressed by this group’s dedication to innovative teaching and learning.  They are continually sharing progressive ideas and implementing new ones as they learn in class.  I am also impressed with their dedication towards attending class.  Many countries experience rolling electrical blackouts or Internet barriers.  We have students staying at school into the night because the connection is better there. Some of them find alternate sites like coffee shops to address their needs. This group meets with me at two different times on Tuesdays.
10 AM Crew (5 PM-Germany, 6:00-Egypt, 7:00-Saudi Arabia)

The South Korea and Philippines students meet me at 6:00 AM (9:00 PM their time). It is 6:00 PM for the Nepal student.  There are two students from the states (Iowa and Texas) who meet at 6:00 AM before they begin their teaching days.

At 10:00 AM, I meet with the Europe and Middle East crew.  It is 5:00 PM in Germany, 6:00 PM in Egypt and 7:00 PM in Saudi Arabia. We also have some students from Iowa.

6:00 PM Crew - Iowa and Arizona
7:30 PM Crew - Iowa
Iowa Masters Degree Students: I have another cohort of Iowa students (and one student who moved to Arizona) who are earning a Masters degree in Instructional Technology. They range from K-3 teachers to high school math teachers to Technology Integration Specialists to a web designer for UNI.  

It is another amazing group of educators who are constantly working to expand their students’/teachers’ learning experiences through technology.  This group is especially close because they had the opportunity to spend a week together on the UNI campus at the beginning of their cohort last June.  They will be concluding their program in Spring 2016.  There are a few other non-cohort students in the class but they have been accepted as members.  

I am teaching a course entitled Writing a Graduate Paper/ePortfolio where we are exploring the process of reading and writing a literature review.  It is a process where they will soon be submitting their lit review to me section by section and it will be necessary for me to return their writings to them in a timely fashion.   I have committed to returning them in 72 hours from class time.  I must admit that in the past, I have not been very timely but I hope that the scheduling system (see future posting) will enable me to fulfill my commitment.

Iowa Undergraduate Students: I am teaching an undergraduate course online as well. It is entitled Educational Technology and Design. This is an introduction to technology course that all students seeking a teaching credential must complete. What is unique about this group is that it is part of the UNI 2+2 program.  The 2+2 program works with the Des Moines Community Area College (DMACC) where students complete 2 years of college through DMACC and then 2 more years through UNI courses (primarily online.)  This is another great group of students who range from 20-year-old sophomores to non-traditional students who are parents with 4 kids.  Most of these students have full-time jobs which is why they are taking an online course.  

This course is completely asynchronous and we DON’T meet through video conferencing on a regular basis.  There are two occasions where I have met with each working group to discuss their progress on larger projects, but those are the only planned video conferencing experiences between the students and me.  I am highly recommending that they use Zoom.us or Apple Facetime or Google Hangout to meet online Face-to-Face.  They have tried chatting with one another but that doesn’t seem to be too successful.   I have provided them with information about how to create their own Zoom Rooms based upon the University’s Zoom.us license, but I will do that at the beginning of the group work next time.

It's going to be a great semester because of these students.

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