Posted by: emapey | September 28, 2011

POTCERT11 Think Assynchronous Text Communication when Teaching Online

We must don’t forget that internet provides to online teachers and learners a fast way for assynchronous text communication and discussion, via web forums, blogs, wikis, mailing lists. It is this feature the real advantage of online learning. Online Courses Require Higher Levels of Thinking from Students

It´s then a mistake, for online teachers, to try to REPLICATE f2f learning, adding synchronous sessions, audio and video lectures and Powerpoint presentations to online courses. KISS, Keep it Simple Stupid with Technology



  1. An interesting post – and while I strongly agree that it’s a mistake to see the online space as a replication of F2F on many levels; I can’t agree with your comment about async/ sync as always being true. Broadly I would agree with you – but I think it is important to be aware of the exceptions.

    A case in point: A colleague and I were very frustrated about a year ago when running an online course for 4th yr (for us that is postgrad) students covering the topic of knowledge management as now being impacted by microblogs. While we were using the asynchronous approach -seeding discussion – providing probes/ challenges etc we found the students getting into “circular discussions”- points which they kept returning to no matter how we approached it.

    In an attempt to engage their thinking at another level (from a different angle?) we set up a synchronous chat session (text) – about 28 students – and entered the discussion again. I should stress we still chose to limit our input allowing them to engage each other more than us engaging them. And found that at a few points in the discussion we had to be REALLY present to keep challenging a single point till they could move passed it. Over a 2hr session (they could enter and leave and return) the debate moved forward substantially.

    There are clearly numerous elements/ reasons for this but for us, most importantly, not only could we see that they had gained a substantially more nuanced understanding of the issues, they themselves reported how much the session had challenged them – their thinking- and their “take away” at the end of the topic. (I should perhaps add this discussion was towards the end of the topic after they had knowledge and experience of KM/ microblogging). We have repeated this step at a similar stage in the course this year and again student response has been very positive. In fact, we can see them carrying this level of reasoning (not sure this term expresses what I mean but gives a sense of it….) forward into other topics.

    The specifics of this context will surely play a major part in why this was/ is the case but I think for us this represented an important shift in how we saw the process unfolding and the “spaces” we were choosing to create and use. Clearly it was a shift in my own thinking as it feels important enough for me to feel the need to comment on your post 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comment. I agree that there are exceptions. I know of some examples. I also found that at a few points in the discussion I had to keep challenging a single point till they could move passed it. It happened to me while teaching online

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