Digital Pedagogy (team blog post)

If not all educators are called to be pedagogues, then how do we hold (or expect to hold) educator’s accountable for sound pedagogical practices in a global environment where everyone is barely treading water? On the flip side of this coin (as if it’s really a coin), is the question of where the collaboration exists between campus pedagogues and educators? For all their filibustering about what digital pedagogy is not, I would argue Stommel and Morris don’t do a solid job of saying what digital pedagogy is – aside from this ethereal manifestation of co-constructed knowledge heralded by Eris than organization – or how collaboration can exist to begin filling in the schisms that exist between those that know, those that do and those that know and do. The current era, and times to come, there will never not be the option for online learning, so how about we begin educating educators on sound, digital, pedagogical approaches so both learners and educators get the most out of the platforms they are (for better or worse) existing upon?

Students in the classroom have different strengths and weaknesses, the use of digital tools can be a way to address those differences. It is within the professor’s responsibility to identify these differences among the learners and address and understand where students might be troubled. This is when digital pedagogies come in hand as they can be used to simplify and balance student’s abilities and focus on getting the feedback needed to improve the learning process.

One of the things our group chatted about was the need for an Incorporation of more studies related to people’s attention capacities online. Because we have all been forced into this online learning environment, more research ought to be done to look into the best easy to disseminate information to students and how they are retaining it. We’ve heard pieces of information here and there about how long videos should be, things to incorporate in a narrated presentation to increase engagement from the students and how to make online learning interactive. However, it would be both interesting and helpful to have data to support the comments in one location that all educators could pull from to aid in their online pedagogy.

Online instruction specialists would be a useful new field to develop too. Since research and practice are, at least preliminarily, indicating that learning happens in a different manner when done fully online, new tools and methods are needed to optimize teaching in this context. However, as many teachers are discovering with the forced rapid conversion to online educating, incorporating these tools into lessons takes time – enough to merit a full-time job. Schools with prior experience educating online are finding themselves at an advantage, being able to use the knowledge of1 employees already experienced in this context. If more schools invest in such professionals, then they too can get ahead in online education.

In the realm of digital pedagogy, efforts need to be made to encourage the accommodation of traditional and nontraditional students. One benefit of online teaching and MOOCs is the ability of the program to be able to conform to a person’s life. Creating an engaging classroom through the usage of online tools is paramount, and ensuring these programs have a positive user experience is another hurdle. Creating platforms that provide users with an easy, intuitive, and positive experience of interaction can improve the learning experience for students.

Teaching teamwork skills through reflection

Teamwork is a skill that is vital to professional success yet is not taught in schools. Courses often utilize teamwork with the intent of allowing students to become better at it, but it is never explicitly taught. In previous blogs, I have aired the exact same grievances regarding giving presentations. I am embarrassed that I had failed to recognize teamwork as a vital skill that is similarly neglected with respect to education.

I appreciate Dr. Murzi’s inclusion of this point into the Contemporary Pedagogy course because I don’t believe I would have recognized the need to teach teamwork skills otherwise. I am also very grateful that he is providing somewhat of an instruction manual for doing so, since I have no idea how to teach this skill set, nor would I consider myself a particularly good teammate.

In line with case-based learning, Murzi et al. (2020) actually turns the learning over to the teammates themselves. While a professor does initially give a lecture on teamwork (which I do feel is valuable), most of the learning appears to come from doing – and reflecting. By reflecting on what worked, what didn’t work, and challenges faced in displaying effective teamwork, students can begin to recognize how they can best handle situations as a teammate.

With all the group projects and group work I was forced to do as a student, I never once thought about or processed the team dynamics. Instead, I was only focused on getting the project done so that I could forget about the (often traumatizing) group work experience. Little did I realize I was robbing myself of the opportunity to learn a very important life skill. But now I can give my future students the opportunity to learn teamwork skills and in a simple way.