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“Teaching online for the first time is like trying to drive a car in a foreign country. You know how to drive, but darn if those road signs aren’t all in a foreign language,” said Elizabeth Alderton and Judy Lambert, both of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s reading education department.

At the Center for Scholarly Teaching’s third One-Session Wonder of the spring semester, Lambert and Alderton continued the discussion on blended and online teaching at UW Oshkosh in a presentation titled “Adapting to Online Teaching and Learning: First Steps.” The session followed last week’s presentation on the various instructional resources that are available.

The ongoing research-based sessions include open dialogue among cross-campus colleagues who seek practical advice for improving their teaching skills. The main message from both sessions was this: “Good teaching is good teaching.”  Solid pedagogy is just as crucial online as it is on the chalkboard.

Many of the challenges facing the UW Oshkosh teaching community, as more classes move to blended or online mediums, are not only how to use instructional technologies, but how to teach course material effectively through a computer.

Lambert stressed that the technology must come second to the teaching; online learning is still dependent on high-quality pedagogy, not fancy technological options. Furthermore, there is no true replacement for the face-to-face classroom setting, and when possible, Alderton and Lambert recommend holding a few in-person class sessions.

Lambert and Alderton showed their own online courses to participants, discussing broad course frameworks and demonstrating how to set up discussions and grade assignments online. They shared tips on how to monitor student participation and keep the course interesting with audio and video podcasts.

After the session, one participant remarked she had gained a sense of “actually being able to construct” an online course.

One-Session Wonders are held from 8 to 9 a.m. Tuesdays and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the Center for Scholarly Teaching. On Wednesday, April 7, Linda Freed will present “IRB and SOTL,” and on Wednesday, April 21, Karen King will present “Memoir Writing.”

To learn more and register for upcoming One-Session Wonders and other Center for Scholarly Teaching events, visit www.uwosh.edu/cst.

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