By Nicole Yankelovich
I recently collaborated with Amy Cramer, an economics professor at Pima Community College in Tuscon, Arizona. Together, we made a video that demonstrates how Open Wonderland can be used to create a dynamic, interactive environment for teaching online economics classes.
This came about as a result of her school encouraging her to develop a distance education course. She resisted because she was not satisfied with current online course offerings. She did not think they did a good job of engaging students or offering the type of explanatory power of live instruction. On top of that, they involved more work for the instructor because of the volume of discussion text that had to be read and responded to.
These problems led her to explore alternatives. Together, we made this video to illustrate how using Open Wonderland could overcome the issues with web-based courses, while retaining all of the benefits.
The main insight from the video is that live classes that integrate collaborative activities with opportunities to interact with the instructor are considerably more engaging than reading web pages or watching canned videos. Those students who are able to take advantage of the live class will have a superior experience, but students not able to attend can still follow the course by watching video recordings of the sessions.