This past Thursday Howard Griffith (MB Ed, Web Based Learning) stopped by my Internet for Educators class at Brandon University to offer his knowledge and insight about web-based courses. Unfortunately I was unable to sit in on the presentation, but as far as I know, Griffith's presentation was very interesting and gave valuable insight into the uses of WBC (web-based courses) that are offered through the Manitoba Government website (Manitoba Education) //www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/dl/:.
Because I missed this presentation, I have been doing some looking around at both colleagues blogs as well as the Distance Learning resources on the MB government website, as it has proved to provide valuable information on Web-based Courses here in Manitoba.
WBC seem to be a valuable part of education, especially in rural areas that have low enrolment numbers. I believe that every student, no matter how small the town, should have equal opportunity to take necessary courses they may or may not need in order to progress into there desired careers and enter the appropriate post-secondary field of choice. As commented earlier in a colleagues blog, although WBC seems to be a giant step in the right direction, I also believe that WBC seems to be replacing the need for the presence of a teacher (of the human variety).
Web-based Learning offers flexibility for students in rural communities, as well as help to teach students organization skills, and help them become more independent. Web-based learning is a huge step in the right direction, but as a social being, I can’t help but believe that humans are designed to learn from each other. My preference for learning will likely always be from a human rather a computer, as humans often use verbal and visual cues in order to absorb new knowledge and retain information.
In the future, I plan to use a combination of web-based tools and learning as well as face-to-face (F2F) teaching in my classroom. I believe that a mix of the two will promote independent learning and thought as well as challenge student metacognition. I believe that it is important for students (especially high school students) to learn to release responsibility of learning from the teacher and start to take that responsibility on themselves – which is similar to what “the real world” will be like after they graduate from high school. Although a teacher's role in student learning is still necessary, I believe that students can only benefit from the use of web-based learning and is one step closer to helping our students become successful, independent, contributing members of today's society.