Synthesis #4

Akdemir, O. (2010). Teaching math online: Current practices in Turkey. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 39(1), 47-64.

I taught math online for a year.  It was difficult and I wish I had time to really write about and process what I learned during that time.  I think I have learned more about teaching online classes this term while taking Edtech 501 online.  It was also difficult for me to take my first online math class, about a year or so ago.  I took the first and second term of undergraduate statistics online.  Again, I would like to take some time to really dig into that experience.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in math without taking a single class online.  I didn’t really start to explore online learning until 2007.  I didn’t teach math online until after I had taken at least half a dozen classes online myself, spent some time supporting teachers and students taking classes online, and had done a lot of math tutoring.  With these different experiences, I felt prepared to teach math online and I was successful for the most part.  Still, there was the matter of combining these experiences into a cohesive skill and conveying information without hand gestures or being able to watch comprehension ebb and flow on a student’s face.

In my next “crack” at online teaching, I would like to first put together some instructional videos myself, to begin with, rather than relying on what was available to me.

Study was the analysis of an open-ended questionnaire sent to participating instructors that culminates in the state of online math education in Turkey.  Article explained what participating instructors used to deliver online mathematics classes.  Technical assistance  received by those instructors in order to set up their online classes seemed to have an effect on the online classes that were turned out.  The type and complexity of the learning management system also affect the results.

One participant appeared to have fewer students in his class than the others, as he used email only to deliver instruction and grades, as well as receive assignments from students.  He also used individual projects for end-of-the-term assessments, whereas other instructors utilized standardized testing in classes with larger numbers of students.

The article said that these 4 instructors were teaching 300,000 math students online.  This makes me think that something was lost in translation or that Turkey is really densely populated.  Is it possible that Turkey had 300,000 online students total at the time of this publication?

The participant using email as his main class delivery system also said this individualized method of instructional delivery is very time-consuming.

The one overreaching conclusion the researchers drew from this work is that online math classes are more effective if they are well-designed.  So, while it doesn’t hurt that some of them are trying to be consistent by using the same learning management system, if each of the classes is not put together well, then they will not be as effective as one that is.

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