Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CEDO 550: Week 1 - Distance Education Goes the Distance


I remember when you found ads for distance education/correspondence courses on the inside of matchbooks or on a page in Popular Mechanics. I haven't had my hands on either for quite some time so I don't know if you can still find them there or not. I always wondered about those colleges. How could you get a degree without a teacher??? Actually, I still wonder how the total correspondence on-line programs work. Maybe I'll should try one of those once just to see how it is. Actually, besides this program and a couple of programming courses that I did miserably in a long time ago, I've learned just about everything I know about computers and technology by learning it by myself - no teacher but me. I have enjoyed this program though, as a catalyst for further investigation and exposure to new ideas and resources. I probably wouldn't have learned all that I have just on my own.

My On-line Beginnings

Way-back in the beginning of this program, I posted here how I got into computers. I got my start in on-line education as Director of On-Line Education in the ESL school I was working at in Taiwan. My computer skills and work on an ESL curriculum project got me the job. It was an ill-thought out project by the company president from the start but I learned a lot and gained a whole lot of skills.

The program I worked on was a program from a vendor called Quartet (now called Q English). It was a blended learning program with 1/2 & 1/2 classroom and on-line study. There was a lot of work to to to customize and localize the program. Originally on CD, the president decided to wait for the online version to come out. That took another long time to scrutinize, edit and test. I had to make a lot of changes for the vendors to correct regarding ill thought of design. There were a lot of other changes and delays for this or that. After way too long of a time working on it I got very frustrated because the president would not even give the go-ahead to begin pilot classes. He had to everything and more 100% spot on and ready before he would begin anything. I tried to tell him that we need pilot classes so what we really know what needs to be worked on and corrected. No go.

My On-line Non-Beginnings

I had been in noisy, polluted and crowded Taipei for 7 years and needed a change so my wife and son and I moved to a smaller city. I left my job and the program before it got off the ground. I don't know if it ever got off the ground. I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to directing the program full speed ahead and seeing how this on-line blended stuff was going to work. So, though I never really got the full on-line experience, I learned a lot of things in a variety if disciplines and areas including, LMS's, SCORM, test question writing for placement, project management, software testing, text editing, working with remote vendors, computer lab design and set up and a lot more.

My On-line Future

Waiting to see if I get any response from Wisconsin Virtual Academy in McFarland, WI. I applied for an on-line teaching job. My sister-in-law knows the director and either still works for them or had recently. She said the Academy is looking to double in the next year or two. I'm hoping the director notices the same last name and takes an extra look at my application.


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  2. Reading your post I couldn't help but think of all the current debates going on in our country on how teachers are paid. While some see it as a simple report on test scores, I think the majority of people believe it to be a complicated issue. Adding in online learning only skews the clarity further. A large part of the new reform that is coming is through peer observations of teachers, but I wonder if in the online sector that observations would a) be effective b)truly demonstrate anything.

    Since many online schools are also involved in a for-profit setting I think it gets even more confusing. I know there isn't a simple answer, but I do wonder how the quality of online education will be effected by our current education reforms.