I am an early adopter of new technology and eagerly explore the various ways digital resources can be included in the classroom. Still, I am cautious about how we make decisions to move online. To ensure that formational goals remain primary, I created a mantra: “Message, Method, then Media.” What this means is that after we identify our audience (who), we must first determine what we want communicate to them (a clearly defined message) and the best method to communicate it (orally through personal conversation or corporate interaction, printed text to read, video message to see and hear, etc) before we decide what media to use. (For a more detailed explanation, see my essay, Moving Online: Faith Formation in a Digital Age which was published in the Spring 2010 Lifelong Faith Journal.)
Here are some resources for helping you move online:
- Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt are seasoned consultants helping individuals and communities as they move online. Their book, Building Online Learning Communities, has been used by countless teachers and professors ans they translate classroom based learning into digial environments. Palloff and Pratt have a new book: The Excellent Online Instructor: Strategies for Training, Development, and Support from Jossey-Bass. they give an overview in this Oct 13, 2010 podcast.
- MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching is a free, peer-reviewed, open quarterly publication designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. According to its website, the objectives of JOLT are to 1) Enable faculty to use technology effectively in online teaching and learning by learning from a community of researchers and scholars; 2) Enable academic programs to design and deploy academic technology to optimize online teaching and learning; and 3) Build a community around the research and scholarly use of multimedia educational resources for online teaching and learning.
- Terry Anderson and Fathi Elloumi edited Theory and Practice of Online Learning from Athabasca University Press. The 1st edition and 2nd editions are available free under a Creative Commons copyright. It shares the story of Canadian academics and practitioners who turned an under-achieving school into a successful resourcer for many who had limited or no access to higher education. The second edition features updates on all chapters from the first edition and the addition of 4 new chapters (Mobile Learning, Social Software, Distance Education Philosophy and Financial Decision Making).
- Daniel S. Christian, Calvin College Instructional Design – Learning Ecosystems Blog (2010+), Learning Ecosystems collection (2007-2010)