Remember the ubiquitous overhead projectors in classrooms, usually with the electric cord across the floor to trip on, during the lectures and writings on the whiteboard? In Media and Communication Studies they were often used for showing images of media content or figures from textbooks. When I moved my office a few years ago, all the plastic sheets went to their second life after recycling. 

Remember when we got projectors in the ceilings and computers in each classroom and we could show our images from the computers instead? And then we got PPP – PowerPoint Presentations…and students suddenly thought we were so structured and prepared before each class. For a while this was really working fine, but then students started to express that lectures were boring and redundant and we might as well just upload the presentation on whatever digital platform used for the course. 

Of course, there are many more digital tools to use nowadays and some of them are really interactive with the students during lectures and seminars. A great mix of tools is what we all want for our teaching. The possibility to offer a community for the students is more complicated, but just the awareness starts a new journey in the way to structure courses. To ensure students to have the opportunity to reflect and discuss with their peers are so important. It might be as simple as just giving them 15 minutes to chat in small groups in breakout rooms before the actual lecture and they will probably feel more included than if they just click on a link and find themselves among a sea of black boxes on the screen.

I love the old-fashioned style of using the whiteboard as a support in teaching. And actually, the students don’t mind when they go online to meet a person next to a whiteboard and communicating with them through the screen but very similar to IRL. And if the cameras are all on, it is easy to find a great level of communication and interaction between me as an instructor and the students. I can highlight their thoughts on the whiteboard. And actually, it gives me an opportunity to understand what the next step will be to create asynchronous opportunities for students. I must emphasize how grateful I am for learning about the Community of Inquiry and all the aspects we need to bring in when teaching. Not only online, but also in physical classrooms.  And it has also giving me perspectives that some things may be even better in a digital learning environment.

Topic 4: Re-designing old-fashioned style for the benefits of online learning