ECEL08 Cyprus

Well attended conference in Agia Nappa – glorious surroundings with direct access to beach. Despite the sun and sand, the conference provided quite enough stimulus to keep me away from the distractions. Delivered paper on “identify crisis: who is teaching whom online?” which was well supported and led to lively discussion. My research proposesĀ a transition from teacher to learner using online environments for teaching, which can be seen as empowering or upsetting, depending on your point of view.

As learners begin to get to grips with the huge possibiities of accessing information and differing perspectives over the web, there is more reason to justify challenge to what teachers say in the classroom, more ways in which they can develop confidence in online identities and metamorphose from the quiet person at the back of the class, to the pro-active challenger online. Good stuff. Unless, that is, you define yourself as a teacher by seeing yourself in charge in the classroom. Then there are stressful encounters ahead. Where now does your authority come from? To set the curriculum, to design the online course area, to ask the questions, to pace the interaction and appearance of learning artefacts. Do you have that authority any more?

Of course teachers do still have authority online – especially upfront when they are designing interactions and activities and content. But they are no longer the sole architects of their students “course”. Web integration allows students to use other HEIs for notes and ideas, monitor currency of content and find others to ask questions – possibly talking directly to far distant experts. Challenging when we work out what teachers are meant to be doing. But still plenty of opportunities for “good” ie inspiring, questioning, problem-based teaching.