The PLC (Professional Learning Community) will be providing the teaching tip of the week throughout the academic year in support of their goal of interdisciplinary collegiality.
When I have interviewed UTA’s online students, a common theme that emerged was a lack of connection among students. Instead of building a support network of leaners, which often naturally occurs in traditional classroom settings, online students feel that they are learning in a bubble, relying on their assigned readings and YouTube videos. One approach to encourage connections among students is requiring them to build personal learning networks. By using social media, a faculty member can encourage students to build connections by participating in open online discussions. Classmates, current practitioners, and scholars can fill students’ networks, becoming resources that expand their support structure and their perspectives. In practical application, the first steps involve teaching students how to build a digital identity and encourage or require, for example, 3 tweets per week on classroom topics or readings. For further information on incorporating these ideas, check out some practical advice for using Twitter, http://bit.ly/1k4VMnK.
~Andy Herzog, firstname.lastname@example.org, Interim Department Head, Outreach and Scholarship History Liaison, UT Arlington Libraries