I have not had many online or distant learning experiences, and the one I did have was from seventeen years ago. While technology has certainly evolved since then, the way the class was organized is still pretty similar to some online class now, which is weird right? The class I took was Intro to Hotel Tourism and Management. To be completely honest, it was an elective and wanted something “easy”. The class was definitely of the slow cooker mentality…”prep and set”. Also, and much to Professor Warnick’s dismay, we were using Blackboard at the time for a LMS, so there was no real communication with the teacher other than checking grades. On to the cons, and pros.
The worst parts was lack of face to face interaction, lack of ability to communicate well with the teacher (Blackboard wasn’t exactly the most user friendly interface), and most importantly the material was dated and boring. Also, Google wasn’t what it is now, so a quick search for a question I didn’t understand was not really an option. On to the pro, and yes, there was one pro! I took this class with a few friends and we did the quizzes and even final exam together, and to be honest, that was the best experience of this class. We read our chapters for each week and then met up and sat around and just talked about it and sometimes had these “aha” moments if we learned something new. Looking back, I think I learned more in those moments than when I took a test.
Moving forward, when I look for a teaching position after graduation, I will not likely be seeking out an online class opportunity, but if one happens upon me, I will do my best to make it engaging, communicative, and intuitive. One component I would like to see more often is ways to encourage peer to peer interaction or group projects through a digital platform. We learn so much from each other, not just the teacher, that moments of connection between students mustn’t be lost.