The New Meaning of Ph.D.

By Erin Clarke-Dorrell (dorrell.11@osu.edu)

The last time we posted on this blog, COVID-19 was starting to make its presence more widely known across the globe. We sure did not anticipate still focusing on this topic and the continued impact so many months later. So, you may wonder what it is like being a doctoral student amid a global pandemic. Honestly, the pandemic has not really changed how the members of the LED Research Group continue in our Ph.D. program. Predictably and probably due to the field, our learning technologies courses transitioned fairly smoothly to entirely online learning. Additionally, there is a level of autonomy that governs the work we do as graduate students, leaving little difficulties there. However, it is always nice knowing that we can reach out to fellow research group members and advisor for needed support.

Nevertheless, moving towards the autumn 2020 semester leaves so much uncertainty. That is the reason behind the following tips for being a good doctoral student during a pandemic.

  • Try and set up a dedicated work/study space
  • Ensure everyone in your household knows when you have classes or meetings via Zoom
  • Better yet, play around with the virtual background feature on Zoom
  • Always mute yourself unless you are speaking during virtual classes/meetings
  • Reach out to those in your cohort to keep a sense of community
  • Ask questions about anything you are uncertain
  • Be flexible and know EVENTUALLY this too shall pass

zoom meeting during the pandemic

Given the global pandemic of 2020, upon completion of our programs, I believe that instead of receiving a diploma with a Ph.D. as an acronym for Doctor of Philosophy, it should be Pandemic Henceforth Dedication. We never planned for this to happen, but we have moved forward, embraced all the Zoom meetings, and look towards hope in the future. Learning technologies has been given the opportunity to shine, and we want to make sure that continues to happen.

Prepare, respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic

In an effort to support our colleagues in China to respond and recover from #COVID19 pandemic, the LED research group created a TOOLKIT for Online Teaching and Learning / 线上教学工具箱

PDF available here.

Given the disruption caused by the #coronavirus #COVID19, the LED research group hopes that these expert-curated resources on online learning and teaching may add a sense of normalcy and social interaction for both the online teachers and learners.

TEACHING ONLINE

8 Tips for Teaching Online- Spoiler: It Gets Better with Time
By Bill Schiano & Espen Andersen (March 2019)
It offers eight intuitive but important tips for preparing, maintaining, and teaching online.

Take your teaching online
By the Open University (OpenLearn) free course

Teaching Online Simplified: A Quick Guide for Instructors
By F. D. Yusop & Ana-Paula Correia (2017)
University of Malaya Press, 110 p. ISBN: 978-983-100-948-2
This book intends to serve as a practical guide or “handbook” for those who have limited or no prior knowledge in teaching and/or education but are interested in online teaching or have to teach online.

TRANSITIONING FROM CLASSROOM TO ONLINE TEACHING

Tracing Successful Online Teaching in Higher Education: Voices of Exemplary Online Teachers
By Evrim Baran, Ana-Paula Correia & Ann Thompson (2013)
The findings of this study indicated that when teachers described their successful practices, they often linked them to their changing roles and new representation of their “selves” within an online environment. Their portrayal of the teacher self, both built on a plethora of previous experiences and reformed with the affordances and limitations of the online environment, went through a process whereby teachers were constantly challenged to make themselves heard, known, and felt by their students. This study showed that it was critical to listen to teachers’ voices and give them a participatory role in the creation and use of their knowledge and experience in order to form their online teacher personas. As a result, programs that prepare faculty to teach online may need to encourage teachers to reflect on their past experiences, assumptions, and beliefs toward learning and teaching and transform their perspectives by engaging in pedagogical inquiry and problem solving.

How to Be a Better Online Teacher ADVICE GUIDE
By Flower Darby (2020)
Discusses 10 essential principles and practices to teach online.

CREATING ONLINE ACTIVITIES

Specific Activities to Promote Online Discussions
By Rhonda Dubec (February 2018)
It provides useful teaching strategies to promote students’ online discussion with several video examples and detailed instructions.

20 Collaborative Learning Tips and Strategies for Teachers
by TeachThought Staff (February 3, 2020)
It offers strategies for collaborative learning that can be used in face to face or online class interactions.

Authentic Online Discussions: A Narrative Inquiry into Sharing Leadership and Facilitation Among Teachers and Students
By Ana-Paula Correia, Cara A. North, Ceren Korkmaz, Vicki Simmerman & Karen Bruce Wallace (2019)
International Journal on E-Learning, 18(2), 165-189.
The literature has tended to focus on the instructor’s role in moderation and facilitation while paying less attention to more student-focused strategies that foster meaningful dialogue and engagement on their part. Centering the learner, this study presents an innovative approach for online discussions, examining a case where online students created and facilitated online discussions for a graduate-level course at a Midwestern research university. The study offers reflections from four graduate students, between the ages of 20-55, who took the course over the past two years, and who have analyzed what they gained from creating and facilitating discussion. These students’ reflections foreground how, by participating in this process, they experienced an authentic sense of connectedness and collaboration, as they had the opportunity to bring their perspectives and priorities to the course and take responsibility for their own and their classmates’ success.

Live synchronous web meetings in asynchronous online courses: Reconceptualizing virtual office hours
By P. R. Lowenthal, J. C. Dunlap & C. Snelson (2017)
Online Learning 21(4), 177-194.
This article discusses how to successfully implement online office hours.

Making the Most of Virtual Office Hours
(2019, January 22)
Austin Community College Speech professor Tasha Davis, Ph.D., shares her experience with hosting virtual office hours and ways to maximize your one-on-one time with students.

QUALITY ASSURANCE FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION

Quality Assurance
By The Ohio State University’s Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE) (2020)
To support instructors and academic units in creating high-quality courses, the ODEE instructional design team has developed a set of internal standards that capture university policies, recent scholarship on student success and feedback from Ohio State faculty collaborators.

DESIGN GUIDELINES

The UDL Guidelines
By the Center for Applied Special Technology Universal Design (2020)
Learn about learning guidelines for Universal Design.
Available in Traditional Chinese
Available in Simplified Chinese

ONLINE TEACHING TOOLS & RESOURCES

Online Teaching Tools and Resources
By Yale University Center for Language Study (2020)
This resource contains a list of free tools and resources for language teachers to use in their classrooms.

Live presentation platforms available in China without VPN
网易云信 https://netease.im/livetool
轻课云 http://www.qingkeyun.cn/

For more information

e-Education Research
The Chinese Journal of ICT in Education

Articles in these high-quality Chinese journals explore teachers’ behaviors when teaching online, teachers & learners’ feedback about online courses, strategies to improve learners’ engagement in online learning, teachers & learners’ role in online learning contexts, among other topics.