As we think about the needs of learners in online environments, there is one dichotomy that we often forget.
Some students take online courses because they need a credit or qualification for a life pathway, not because the want to learn.
I was first introduced to this thinking as a secondary online teacher , and I wrote about it on my old blog, School 2 Go, seven years ago .
I am returning to this dichotomy today as I think about how to differentiate the AQ I am currently teaching. Many of my teacher candidates have yet to find consistent work in the teaching profession in Ontario even though they have a wealth of experience. For some of them, this course is just a qualification needed to help them find work. They are busy raising families, doing other paid work and just trying to make it in a system that is so challenging for new educators.
How do I, as an instructor, challenge their thinking and model the kind of online learning we want for our students and teachers, while respecting their need to just “get through it”? How do I remain present in their learning from a distance without becoming a burden to achieving their goals?
This will be part of my personal inquiry going forward.