In their book, Building Online Learning Communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom, Palloff and Pratt emphasize that one of the challenges of developing an online course, whether it be for student learning or professional development, is to “actively engage the online learning process” a key make it so that “the content of the course should be embedded in everyday life.” (Paloff and Pratt 2007)
It’s a challenge that teachers face on a regular basis in any setting, but creating an online atmosphere that is authentic, applicable, and engaging has its own set of challenges. In his online article, Promoting Online Interaction in Today’s Colleges and Universities, Muirhead brings up a point that, to some, may be obvious. “A major advantage to [computer-mediated learning] is that students appreciate and enjoy the learning process to a greater degree when they have the opportunity to freely share with their instructor and colleagues.” (Muirhead, 2002)
How does this relate to making a course applicable to embedding a course in everyday life? Real-world interaction, whether it be between real-life colleagues at work, or online classmates, is a key aspect to a successful collegial relationship. Hypothetical and theoretical interaction can be effective, but applying those theories to everyday life and work will make them much more effective (Muirhead, 2002).
Muirhead, B. (2002, July). Usdla journal. Retrieved from http://www.usdla.org/html/journal/JUL02_Issue/article04.html