Saturday, February 16, 2008

Episode 7 Learning Online

Show notes:
Jeff n' Dan discuss the benefits and pitfalls of online learning environments.

Tech Talk:
Jeff Reviews some free and easy Course/Learning Management Systems

Media Integration:
Dan discusses “Curse of Curves” by Cute is What We Aim For.

Book Talk:
Dan reviews the Minx line of graphic novel from DC comics. Including The Plain Janes & The Re-Gifters

Didya See?:
Regionalization Meeting in Western Maine with the Rural Caucus
Baldacci fights plan to cut school aid (Kennebec Journal)

Music in this week's episode comes from and Penmachine Podcast. “Meltdown Man” intro music by Derek K. Miller.

Listener feedback is encouraged. Contact us at or leave us comments at
This episode was recorded Feb 15, 2008.


Mark said...

Hi guys- I just finished listening to episode 7 on my drive in this morning. I have a couple of comments with regard to the online learning segment.

There are some positive benefits to online learning that I am not sure you mentioned. The first, and probably most obvious, is that it does promote writing skills. Students need to write more (I submit as evidence your comment on the podcast about the people who claimed to have received a "good" education but left posts full of grammatical and spelling errors). Don't forget that even though they may not be doing it in school, students are using any number of web sites/applications and leaving posts all the time. Using some type of online learning environment allows teachers to encourage good writing skills.

Another benefit is to give a voice to the student who might not otherwise speak up in class. Not everyone is comfortable speaking in front of a group. Online can be a safe place to speak up.

With regard to your excellent point about the danger of being misunderstood due to the lack of voice tone and body language: what an outstanding opportunity to teach your students to be aware of this possibility. This could be a good way to bring good netiquette into the conversation. Along the same lines, you could teach students about ways to indicate that they are writing using irony or sarcasm. See Sarcasm mark

This was my first time listening and I look forward to the next episode. One suggestion that I have would be to add chapter markers between the segments. Thanks!

Wicked Decent Learning said...

Dan here:

Mark, you raise some excellent points about online learning. I'm with you on the writing opportunities front and in the times I've had my classes use Moodle, I've banned 'chatspeak' from the boards. (I wanted to require complete sentences and proper spelling and realized I was facing an assessment management nightmare.) And I also appreciate the comment about the voiceless. In my work with pre-service teachers, I mention this benefit to discussion boards and I also mention the importance of varied class discussion formats for the same reasons.

And thanks for the sarcasm mark link. I still find it very problematic -- look at how many 'accepted' versions of the mark there are.

Don't get me wrong; there are benefits to online learning. I just feel it's important to recognize some of the very practical concerns with regards to students that tend to get overlooked when online classrooms get touted as the 'future' of education.

Thanks for listening and holler away anytime! We are big fans of the dialogue.

And I'll tell Jeff to look into the chapter breaks. (He's the tech brains around here.) I think we are a bit limited by what will let us do in terms of file formatting.

mrichme said...

Dan and Jeff,

I just finished listening to your episode while putting my children to bed tonight and found your discussion very entertaining.

I see online learning from 2 different lenses K12 and higher ed. Through the K12 lens online learning should be integrated as a tool into the classroom like audio/video, lectures, hands on activities, etc. As a standalone piece online learning is doomed to fail for the reasons you mentioned in the podcast. When online learning is integrated then students who might not be engaged within the four walls might feel engaged and it addresses the whole multiple intelligences goals.

From the higher education lens online learning has a role because people know what they're getting into from the beginning. I've taken a few classes that have utilized different methods of online learning and found the lack of time restrictions refreshing. Some people felt that the lack of face-to-face interactions limiting but it forced me to be clearer with my message as I wouldn't have the chance to read others to gauge understanding.

Keep up the good work and look forward to your next episode.

Wicked Decent Learning said...

Thanks for listening!

We're concerned that your kids may have nightmares as the direct result of being within earshot of our voices, but hey... we've both got little ones and they seem to be turning okay so far.

We're recording the latest episode right now. It should be up by Sunday afternoon.

And come back here soon -- I'm sure we both have things to say about your perspective on things. (I think you are right on the money; I don't know what Jeff thinks -- he's a bit off his nut.)