Fielding Graduate University News

Lessons from the Virtual Classroom: The Realities of Online Teaching

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Thu, Jun 13, 2013

Lessons from the Virtual ClassroomFielding Graduate University faculty members Rena Palloff, PhD, and Keith Pratt, PhD, announce new book specializing in online teaching titled: Lessons from the Virtual Classroom: The Realities of Online Teaching.

The second edition of the classic resource, Lessons from the Cyberspace Classroom, offers a comprehensive reference for faculty to hone their skills in becoming more effective online instructors. Thoroughly revised and updated to reflect recent changes and challenges that face online teachers, Lessons from the Virtual Classroom is filled with illustrative examples from actual online courses as well as helpful insights from teachers and students. This essential guide offers targeted suggestions for dealing with such critical issues as evaluating effective courseware, working with online classroom dynamics, addressing the needs of the online student, making the transition to online teaching, and promoting the development of the learning community.

As introduced in chapter one, Palloff and Pratt explain:

Because of the changing nature of students today, economic pressures, and rapid implementation of distance learning courses and programs, definitions of what constitutes education and learning are changing too. Whereas years ago instructors viewed their students as blank slates whose minds could be filled with the information they were imparting, current constructivist theory holds that students create knowledge and meaning through their interaction with one another, the instructor, and their environment. A more collaborative approach to learning, such as that promoted by constructivist thought, can yield deeper levels of knowledge creation (Brooks & Brooks, 2000). The use of distance learning technologies and, more specifically, online learning, have both grown out of and contributed to the changes now occurring in the delivery of education.

Pratt and PalloffPalloff and Pratt are the managing partners of Crossroads Consulting Group, working with academic institutions and business and professional organizations in the development and delivery of effective online education and training programs. Both are program directors and faculty in the Teaching in the Virtual Classroom program at Fielding Graduate University. Palloff and Pratt have been presenting this work across the United States and internationally since 1994 at conferences including the Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison, WI, EDUCAUSE, and the League for Innovation, as well as consulting to academic institutions regarding the development of effective distance learning programs.To recognize their outstanding contributions in the application of important skills, concepts, techniques, meanings and understandings of distance education in North America, Palloff and Pratt were awarded the Wedemeyer Award for Outstanding Practitioners in Distance Education in 2013 at the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning in Madison, Wisconsin.

Tags: educational leadership, fielding graduate university, distance education