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Online Teaching

 
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Is online realtime teaching going to replace brick and mortar classes any time soon?
Yes I completely agree. Brick and mortar classes are a thing of the past.
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I don't think online teaching will ever replace "face to face"teaching.
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 100%  [ 3 ]
It will happen, but probably not in my lifetime.
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Total Votes : 3

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teacherbeam



Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:30 am    Post subject: Online Teaching Reply with quote

I have been successfully teaching English online full time for a couple of years now. It's been a very challenging and rewarding experience creating my website, TeacherBeam.com and also developing online courseware, lessons, and activities using various commercial and open source programs. Another great part of teaching online is the flexibility an online medium provides to the teacher and students. After teaching face to face classes in Korea for over five years, I am now teaching students from all over the world online. I was honestly getting a little bored with the mono-racial/cultural classes. My classes are now a kaliedascope of cultures. It's not unusual for me to have European, South American, and Asian students together in every class. Another plus is since I'm running my own school, I always see eye to eye with the school's administrator... me!

If you are interested in starting your own online school, let me know. I can help you. contact me directly by email; admin@teacherbeam.com or post your comments here.. I look forward to hearing from you.
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matbury



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Brighton, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi teacherbeam,

Congratulations on your success! I'd like to know more about what you're doing and how you're doing it and I'm sure other members of this forum would be as curious as I am.

Are you using an LMS (learning management system) to manage your students, records, grades, etc.?

How do you communicate with your students? i.e. Skype, email, chat, etc.
If you're running on-line classrooms via web conferencing, how do you organise it? What do you do if students' connections (or your own) drop out?

What kinds of resources are you using? i.e. reading, writing, listening, speaking and grammar activities

I'm an e-learning developer and work mostly with the Flash platform (Flash and Flex) and Moodle (the most widely used open-source LMS). I currently run a few higher level on-line courses for my classroom students. I include interactive vocabulary activities, interactive dictations, task based learning (projects), writing tasks, shadow reading activities, and of course progress tests and exam practice tests.

You can have a look and try out a few demos on my LMS demo course here: http://matbury.com/moodle/course/view.php?id=9 There's no need to set up a user account, just sign in as a guest.

I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

Matt Smile
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teacherbeam



Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:29 am    Post subject: online teaching opportunities Reply with quote

Hi Matt, I wrote a somewhat lengthy reply, but it seemed to vanish into never never land when I attempted to post it. My subsequent reply found below is less than adequate, but hopefully can point future online teachers in the right direction.


There are lots of open source LMS to choose from; Atutor, Claroline, Moodle, Didactor', and Ilias, are some that I have used and recommend.

Most learning systems have integrated email and chat applications, so that is a non issue, but if you are planning on teaching synchronously then a solid audio/video/ whiteboard app is important. Again there are choices, both open source and commercial . Your choice should depend on several factors such as, budget, IT expertise, how many students you will be teaching simultaneously, etc.

To ensure a stable connection, a must for a successful learning/teaching experience, I recommend a dedicated server for your website. You can use your own computer, or you can "rent" from a hoster. If your budget is limited, and you don't plan on teaching more than say 4 students at a time, you could manage with a VPS (virtual private server). They are more affordable, and can work well too.

Of course, you will need online content for your students to study outside of your live classes. Your LMS and other open source content creation applications will give you many choices for creating activities to help students with all their language skills.


Feel free to contact me at : admin@teacherbeam.com or post here if anyone has a specific question on how to develop an online teaching site.
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matbury



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Brighton, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've also dabbled with a few open source LMSs and eventually settled on Moodle, simply because it's the one almost every school and university is using as well as lots of other businesses and organisations.

I see you're using Moodle too for your website, using a dedicated server as you said. What do you use for your interactive whiteboard and would you recommend it? i.e. Adobe Connect, Cisco Systems WebEx, Elluminate, etc.

I've just started looking into using AWS (Amazon Web Services) to host on. I've successfully used their S3 (Simple Storage Service), which is basically a bucket server, to host media such as video, audio and images. They also offer great support and tutorials which is handy for me because I'm pretty bad at PHP. My next step is to look into using their EC2 service (Elastic Compute Cloud) to host code and maybe even run a media server, like FMS, Red5 or Wowza to see how well that works out. AWS are fast, very reliable and so much cheaper than hosted or dedicated servers. Although, it may turn out that it'd be cheaper, in terms of development costs, to subscribe to a 3rd party media server for VoIP, message recording and the like.

I quite liked the idea that http://livemocha.com/ have come up with, where students can record themselves speaking and submit it for peer review. Although I think having a standardised review system with qualified teachers would be the way to go for students enrolled on progressive courses.

I think the biggest challenge for on-line only learning is maintaining continuity for both students and teachers. The web does tend to be quite transient by nature and people tend to drift in and out of forums and other on-line communities. You may have experienced this yourself if you use any developer forums on a regular basis. Since e-learning is essentially an on-line community, I think the same applies.

Ideally, I think a blended learning with a balance of face-to-face classes, for the social and timetable aspects, and on-line resources, for studying, recycling and written practice is a good approach. For those students who are more comfortable with the ins and outs of on-line communities and web communication, VoIP, chat and web conferencing can also make studying more convenient and accessible.

Google Wave looks like it could have quite an impact on web conferencing, e-learning and the way most people communicate over the web. I wrote an article about it on my blog which includes the presentation video of Google Wave at the Google I|O conference: http://matbury.com/wordpress/?p=263 Don't hold your breath though. It isn't even in Beta yet and there are a lot of problems with running it on hand-held devices such as iPhones.
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teacherbeam



Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt, I agree with everything you commented on wholeheartedly.

Online teaching is an effective and convenient way to help our students, and as you described there are lots of choices available.

If you have minimal budget constraints, then the commercial applications combined with an experienced developer can have you teaching online with little effort and in a very short time.

For those of you who have limited budgets I recommend building your site with open source programs and apps. Even if you are not an experienced developer or IT pro, you can still have an online site with all the bells and whistles.

Feel free to contact me with any question that you may have.
admin@teacherbeam.com

Happy teaching!
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teacherbeam



Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took a look at your demo site... lots of nice interactive stuff. I especially like the subway map!

I'm attempting to create some similar activities with openlaszlo... the opensource equivalent to Adobe Flex perhaps.

Thanks for the demos and keep up the good work!
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matbury



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 30
Location: Brighton, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Open Lazlo mmm... I wonder.

They announced support for Flash Player 9 (AKA ActionScript 3.0) on 6th April 2009. This means they're well behind the curve on RIA development. You only really get the full benefit of handling open protocols like XML and developing in a fully object oriented language with AS 3.0. I reckon it'll be some time before Open Lazlo produces a decent library of classes and components to match where the Adobe Flash platform is at right now.

I'd love to develop for the Flash platform in open source IDEs (It'd save me a lot of money and I'm all in favour of open source projects) but, for the moment anyway, the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. Perhaps a better approach would be to develop with the Flex SDK with the Eclipse IDE from Sun Microsystems (The Flex IDE is based on Eclipse). Both are free but not open source.

I developed the London Tube map some time ago in AS 2.0 and it was a lot of work and I came across a number of shortcomings. If I were to do the same again in AS 3.0 it'd be much easier and the resulting app. would be more dynamic, allow localisation (support for different languages and alphabets), and of course about ten times faster and smoother.

For anyone who'd like to get involved with e-learning and doesn't have a lot of experience with developing and computer languages, I'd recommend getting to grips with Moodle first. As you said, you can do a lot with Moodle without a great deal of technical knowledge, and it's free to set up locally on your own computer before you start paying for a web hosting service. It is a steep learning curve and novices will have to spend a lot of time getting used to how Moodle and it's various modules work but it's well worth the effort. There's various books on Moodle available but they mostly tend to be edited down versions of the free Moodle docs that are available on-line on their site: http://moodle.org/

Good luck!
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