Growing up I was inspired watching Robin Williams telling students to tear up their books in Dead Poets Society, or Edward James Olmos teaching students to “Stand And Deliver”, or even slacker teacher Mark Harmon in Summer School. I wanted to have a positive impact on lives the way my teachers had a positive impact on me. I want to reach depths that transcended course material and struck to the core of humanity, our passions and our purpose, that special thing that Sir Ken Robinson refers to as “The Element”. I also desperately wanted to wear corduroy blazers with leather patches on the elbows. When I finally became a teacher I was struck by how wrong I was in my assumptions and how difficult my task would be. In the years past this might have been an accurate assumption, however, when I started teaching I became an online teacher. How could I achieve my goals in this virtual world? There are no desks to stand on, no corduroy blazers, and it’s a lot harder to motivate students to tear up their eBooks. One day as I was teaching an online session a student asked “Is this a real person?” In one cursory sentence, I questioned the effectiveness of online education and my own existence.
Exploring this tricky new online universe and motivating students in a purposeful and lasting way through this new technology has been the focus of my 12 month journey through the EMDT program. All too often we look to shoehorn old philosophies into new mediums. This powerful tool has the ability to connect students and instructors in ways never thought possible. This shift in paradigm also requires a shift in thinking. Through this project I have sought to develop a curriculum guided by Self Determination Theory that puts the student in the driver's seat of their academic destiny. While each course must consider the dynamic relationship of instructor and student as well as the material being presented, I believe all courses can benefit from some amount of choice on the student's end. This process necessarily reflects personality responsibility on the student's end and turns their motivations inward causing them to question core beliefs regarding their academic identity. It is a lofty goal and this presentation reflects my experience in giving choice a chance. I intend on submitting this presentation to the AACE in consideration for the E-Learn Conference in Montreal, Quebec.
PPP Think Out Loud Post #1: http://wholenewstudent.blogspot.com/2011/11/mac-wk2-ppp-thinking-out-loud.html
PPP Think Out Loud Post #2: http://wholenewstudent.blogspot.com/2011/11/mac-wk3-bp4-ppp-think-out-loud-2.html
Presentation Project: http://goo.gl/qi1qJ