Distributed learning is not about good technology, it’s about good communication.
Distributed Learning, or distance learning, is a broad category that includes all modes of delivery of instruction to remote students. The following are examples of the modes of delivery used at Coast Mountain College:
A tool to connect students and instructors through web-based video platforms that include:
- Teaching remote and face-to-face students simultaneously
- Teaching individual and face-to-face students simultaneously
- Everyone on their own computer but attending a live session through videoconferencing platform (like BlueJeans)
Components of the course are taught “live” online and students are required to attend a session virtually with their peers and instructor.
There are a variety of tools that instructors and students can use to participate in these sessions such as: text chats, web-conferencing platforms (with or without video) and cloud-based collaborative sessions.
Assigned tasks that students complete in their own time. These tasks often operate on a schedule with deadlines.
Asynchronous courses are generally hosted on a learning management system, and direct students to read content in textbooks, and print and screen modules; watch videos and pre-recorded lectures; participate in discussion boards; complete an offline, place-based task; and post assignments. Instructors may still host office hours and meet students (on or offline).
A self-paced course may or may not have an instructor assigned to it. If an instructor is assigned to the self-paced course, they are available to answer questions, clarify complex concepts, and provide tutorials as needed. They may also counsel and support student goal setting. A self-paced course normally has a maximum time allowed, but students can finish earlier than this.
When the instructor and students are physically in the same place for the course, or components of the course.
Some contact hours are kept as face-to-face which can be spread out through the course, front-loaded, or wrapped around.
Advantages of Distributed Learning
- Long lectures can be presented into smaller sessions and recorded.
- Provides flexibility to learn how and where students want.
- Drives pedagogical innovation, creativity, and more learning-centered approaches.
- Has the potential to expand the reach of the curriculum beyond the classroom and textbook and into the real world.
- Students have time to think about, and pour meaning into, content and ideas.
- Reaches people who otherwise couldn’t attend in person.
- Adds voices from diverse contexts.
- Instruction can happen from anywhere.
For tips from Coast Mountain College’s Dr. Nicki Rehn on how to instruct in a Distributed Learning environment, click here.