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For effective implementation of learning objectives, there are key contextual factors that come into play. These factors determine whether the teacher can communicate with the students. With the advent of the internet, online courses have sprouted resulting in the debate on the two options, traditional class setting, and the online class.
According to Class-Size Reduction: Policy, Politics, and Implications for Equity, (2008) the class size in a traditional setting is essential because, due to the greater possibility of teacher-student interaction, teaching in a smaller classroom is more effective compared to a large classroom. Also, other factors will play a role in determining the outcome of the class. Let us take for instance a geography class with 70 students enrolled in class and 10 of them as online students. For the best outcome of the two scenarios, they will have the same objectives as Adam (2004) explains; at the end of the module, a successful student should achieve them.
The learning objectives for the class will be; after the physical geography class, the student will be able to:
- Explain the relationship between the earth and the sun. How their interconnectivity affects the earth’s physical environment.
- Summarize the factors that cause natural hazards and explain their effect on human beings.
- Analyze the effect of human beings on the ecosystem and research on environmental matters such as management of waste, air and water pollution, as well as environmental planning.
- Analyze legitimate conclusions from the analysis of statistics and maps.
- Construct diagrams explaining and demonstrating the processes of rock, hydrologic and plate tectonic cycles as earth science.
The campus class students will attend this class in a medium-size auditorium that harmonizes a good seating arrangement and group work area. The structure of the main assignment is such that students will determine a research topic based on the syllabus; develop questions, and investigate methods. A research paper should be the outcome of the assignment; this should address a specific physical geographic issue while conducting relevant analysis with tangible conclusions. Students will present their research paper to the class at the end of the semester.
Focused discussions, which will be done in groups of five and relate to the topic of the day. The discussion groups are forums where students interact with each other. There will be several discussion topics during the semester. Students are required to contribute their opinion and provide new information on topics. Students are also required to comment once a week on a topic and post to other groups to review. Each group will be required to create a log detailing the discussions and submitted at the end of the group session.
Field trip will be essential in the geography class. This will aid the students in recognizing the environment as an important geographical topic. There will be one class field trip at the end of the semester where the students will be required to put to use statistical techniques, sampling methods in reporting on an activity that is relevant to physical geography. The students will be required to create a journal of what they observed.
During the semester, there will be two examinations, a midterm and a cumulative final. These examinations will consist of two parts (a) question and answer, which will include items such as definitions, brief explanations, listings and identifications (b) essay which will be comparative and not descriptive. Students will have the option of selecting two of three possible essay topics.
In the online class, students will access the geography class portal through the internet and it will contain lessons, messages, forums, assignments, and tests. In the online classroom, there is a link to your lesson this week, it is the most important link in the portal. The studies begin here. This is where the students access their lessons. Also, students will find a summary every week, which outlines their assignments, tutorials, online maps, and forum discussions, and that has deadlines. This online classroom outlines course information, academic calendar, syllabus; the internet portal will also include
- Study guide that will detail the learning objectives.
- Study questions.
- Practice quizzes that are not graded but will be essential to students in helping them find out how well they understand the study material.
There will also be other features in the portal to assist online students understand the class materials. There will be an online forum a section where students will interact with fellow students. This is the online version of the discussion groups and will be synchronous at a set time. This forum will also form a blog for students to extend their discussions and more so to facilitate asynchronous discussion. There will be a message icon where the student can send messages privately to the instructor or fellow students.
There will be assignments posted in the online classroom. Here, there will be a download icon for longer assignments and an upload icon for the student to use for sending completed assignments. Quizzes will also be available as motivation for the student to keep up with their studies. The student will have practice quizzes with interactive feedback on the portal. These quizzes will be timed, subject to deadlines, graded and results recorded as part of the student’s scores.
The online class will avail virtual field trips available as a download. Students will be required to watch a film about one of the topics covered in class, they will also be required to read two to three peer-reviewed articles then compare and contrast how the different media portray the subject matter.
In conclusion, even though online learning appear to substitute traditional class, it may not be effective in preparing students for the subject. Online learning is convenient but does not allow the interaction that is key to the student’s career development, according to Montgomery college’s, Online Student Success Center (2006) online courses do create a sense of isolation in the student. Distance Learning College.com,(2005) explains that employers may not acknowledge online learning, so the more favorable option would be to have the two options complement each other.
Adam, S. (2004). Using Learning Outcomes, Report for United Kingdom Bologna Seminar. Edinburgh: Heriot-Watt University.
Distance Learning College.com. (2005). Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Learning. Web.
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Equity in Education Forum Series, Spring 2008. (2008). Class-Size Reduction: Policy, Politics and Imlications for Equity. Web.
Montgomery college. (2006). Online Student Success Center. Web.