put a class online?
Go to Critical Reviews
starts with a good idea
having a great idea for an online workshop. Not only is the content important
and interesting information, it will also likely generate some additional funds.
This was my situation. I had been delivering a live workshop about
Colorado law, more specifically the mental health statute, and it's impact on
the practice of psychotherapy. I began to play with the idea of putting this
material online and do away with the live workshops.
I had several motivation factors to encourage me to get this done. First,
there was a ready-made market. Licensed as well as unlicensed Colorado
psychotherapists have to take a jurisprudence workshop and/or an exam as part of
the licensing or registration process. Second, the state regulatory board had
authorized a certain of workshop providers and there was only one other person
offering an online version of the workshop material.
As a result, I had little competition for my market (the computer savvy
psychotherapist). Third, getting the workshop online would be good practice for
my faculty responsibilities in teaching. One
of our departmental goals is for faculty to become more technology adept. This
project would definitely help me become a little more computer literate. Fourth,
I am a student at heart and love to learn. Lastly, everybody's doing this right?
Everybody's putting something on the web. Ok,
maybe not everybody, but more and more professionals are providing instruction
and training over the web as an alternative to the traditional face to face
meeting or correspondence course. I decided it was time to try and get up to
speed with the rest of the world.
first step was to sign up for a webct course.
This can't be too hard I thought. I get to my email without too much
trouble and like surfing the net. The first hour went smoothly.
We did some simple things like getting onto the web and looking at
current online courses by other faculty. In my head I am thinking, "This
isn't so bad." Then we started
to do more complicated things for me: creating html files, editing html files,
creating a homepage, selecting and changing backgrounds, selecting
"gif" files, and unzipping and zipping files. As it got more and more
complex, I got more and more confused and intimidated. I felt like I had
entered a whole new world with a new and strange language. It is a
different culture. It holds a different philosophy about how to communicate and
share knowledge with others. As we worked through the rest of the afternoon I
could feel the psychological struggle set in.
the psychological literature Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) is credited with being one
of the first persons to classify conflicts by type (Benjamin, Hopkins, &
Nation, 1990). One of the types is
the approach-avoidance conflict. It is when a person is concurrently drawn to
and repelled by the same activity, event or object. The attraction and repulsion
or aversion levels are equal in strength. An example of this is when my 21 month
old son, who sees a bug on the sidewalk, is drawn to touch it but at the same
time is scared. His behavior
alternates between bending down to touch the bug, laughing, giggling and waving
his arms with excitement and backing away from the bug because he is fearful and
uncertain. I imagine in his mind there is some type of conversation like "I
really want to touch this thing; but oh, no I don't!"
is how I felt about getting my workshop online. I would sit down on the computer to work on it because I was
drawn to the activity for the reasons I previously mentioned, but then I would
find anything and everything else to do on the computer--answer email, work on a
letter, or check the stock market because I was intimidated by the process of
getting this course online. It felt crazy.
through the conflict
steps helped me break through the approach-avoidance conflict. Emotions and
cognitions influence or drive motivation. My
emotions were fear or anxiety when I thought about sitting down and working on
my workshop. So the first thing I needed to do was to uncover what I was saying
to myself that prompted or promoted my anxiety. It was relatively simple,
"Sharon, you can't do this. You're not computer literate enough. Only the 'techies'
can do something like put a whole course or workshop online." Second, I had
to decide what I was saying to myself was false and that if others, like myself
can do it, I can too. In essence I had to change what I was saying to myself so
that I stopped creating my own anxiety. Third, I found someone who could teach
me webct from my learning style and talk to me in my limited knowledge of
"online lingo." I found this to be as critical as the first two steps.
"Techies" can start on a stream of conversation, not look back nor
recognized the glazed look in the "not so techie" person's eyes.
Fourth, I found that using a transcription of my workshop made it easier
to build the individual files that were the basis and foundation of my workshop.
Fifth, don't worry about bells and whistles the first time around. You
and I are trying to get the basics down first. You can put those in later if you
need it. Sixth, I found an editor who knew how to maneuver in webct to clean up
my product. This was helpful because I am not a detailed person and the product
needed to be readable and understandable.
line, if I can do this you can too. Don't
let your fear or anxiety stop you from getting something online.
I found this accomplishment rewarding and it has actually prompted me to
want to do online course work.
L.T., Hopkins, J. R. & Nation, J.R. (1990). Psychology (2nd edition). New York: Macmillan
It was heartening to hear a testimonial--if she could add
some more detail about breaking through the conflict I think it would give
some more clues to the reluctant or anxious; also she said, "It holds a
different philosophy about how to communicate and share knowledge with
others." I wish she would expand on that because I think the reluctance
to do online education is a belief or insistence that one cannot effectively
communicate without face-to-face contact.
Needs some careful editing.
This is an interesting article and one that might have
potential for being helpful to others trying to move to online teaching.
The message is certainly one of encouragement.
However, the actual article is really quite superficial.
The approach taken by the author is not well described.
I was surprised at the almost dismissive tone in which the author went
from establishing the problem (how to get the work done) to solving the
problem (the author found someone to teach her with her learning style).
In addition, the article is rather poorly written and too weak to be published as it currently stands. I believe that if the author had really outlined the steps needed for her to get her online course ready and had done it in some detail, then this article might be useful. As it now stands it is only at the level of a school newspaper piece.