Why teach using online technology?

Please click play to watch this introductory video from Sarah Dysart, Coordinator of Learning Technologies.

Why teach using online technology?  One influential reason to consider integrating online tools into your course is the students.  Today, typical students are labeled generation Y or Millennial.  Their lives, the way they learn, and the ways they communicate are shaped by the world they live in.  One difference between millennials and previous generations is the amount of time they spend online.  There are also an ever increasing number of nontraditional students.  Nontraditional students are students returning to school who may be part-time students, older, first generation, or single parents.  They may have family responsibilities, occupational commitments, and other obligations that compete with their academic duties.  These nontraditional students may need a more flexible schedule or alternative formats to obtain their education.

In addition to being able to offer the flexibility demanded by students, teaching online works.  In a recent study by the United States Department of Education research concluded “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”  Online teaching has come a long way from correspondence and televised broadcast that is associated with distance education.  There is also growing interest in hybrid approaches that blend face-to-face classes with online components.

There are many available resources at Loyola to assist faculty in integrating technology.  The Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy works with faculty to develop their courses and implement tools that are pedagogically sound techniques.  The Information Technology Services department provides technical support and hardware resources.  Tools to create online content are also plentiful and constantly being developed.  These useful tools and techniques may complement your teaching style, increase student participation, and offer other benefits you may be interested in.

One benefit for teaching online is the opportunity to teach from anywhere.  Faculty and students are not restricted to one geographical location.  Faculty can customize their courses depending on how they teach with a variety of synchronous and asynchronous tools to accomplish their objectives.

Take for example online discussion.  Face-to-face in class discussions provide an opportunity for students to express their opinions with their peers and bring about complex intellectual thought but they are restrained.  The time that it takes for the topic to be presented, for other students to speak their mind, the time wasted on impertinent topics, and the allotted class time available are factors that exist in the classroom setting.  In an online setting, these restricting factors are negated.  Students can be presented with material which they can review at their convenience before the discussion begins.  Students have an opportunity to contemplate and word their responses appropriately.  The discussion is not limited to class time and can go on indefinitely if desired.