Forum 3: Designing and Teaching Courses on Literacy Coaching

This forum is archived and additional posts are not accepted.

Nancy Shanklin, Sun March 18, 2007, 06:44 PM MDT

A conversation about teaching courses on literacy coaching started on the National Reading Conference (NRC) list serve. It seems appropriate to offer forum space in the LCC website for such on going conversation.

The opening questions are as follows:

I am going to start to teach a course on literacy coaching. How have you approached the teaching of such a course? What worked and what did not?

Additionally, some coaching courses are taught online. What are your experiences with doing coaching courses online?

Some good ideas have already begin to be shared on the NRC listserve. I'll try to capture those and put them in the LCC website as well. I'll do that over the coming week.

Most forums we are leaving open for about a month. We will simply leave this one open indefinitely.


Margaret McGregor , Wed March 21, 2007, 11:13 AM MDT - On line coaching
I have not had any experience with coaching classes online, but over the years I have taken several on line classes and taught a few web based high school classes. I do think there are a few excellent points to make about online learning that can transcend perceived limitations of the subject area. When I completed an online math class about 15 years ago there was no connection with other students, actually there was little connection with anything other than the computer program. Today's online classes are rich with interactive sharing opportunities such as discussion boards and rooms to post PowerPoints and videos in order to share between students, groups, and across classes. Also, webcams and other devices make it possible for students to record, discuss, and debate in real time. While I am relatively good at navigating technology, as are most of my colleagues, an important point is that the group of individuals known as the Millennial generation, people born between 1982-2000, have grown up with technology as a constant in their lives. I think the growth of this group of individuals will propel the development of online classes that may have a more interactive approach to sharing and learning.
Kristi Tomayko , Thu March 22, 2007, 06:39 AM MDT - Comments
I know what you mean about the Millennial generation being so savvy with technology. They've grown up with it. My fourth graders have email accounts, text message, instant message, know their way around a computer and the Internet. I didn't even have an email account until I was in college! I am looking forward to seeing what this generation has to offer, and I'm sure that we'll see great things when it comes to the improvement of online classes. They'll just have to teach us how to use the technology!
Jaime Harkins , Thu March 22, 2007, 02:36 PM MDT - Online Classes
On-line classes seem to keep all learners engaged because to be an active member of the class you have to communicate your questions and share gained knowledge. It can be convenient to complete the course work for an on-line class when you have a busy schedule because of flexibility. However, it is scary to observe how interpersonal communication is no long necessary for and educator to work with his/her students. It would be challenging to get to know one’s students and learn about strengths and weaknesses when you may never meet in person. How do you as an educator overcome this challenge when teaching online courses?
Trinidad Liberto , Thu March 22, 2007, 08:59 PM MDT - Online Classes
I have never taken an online course before, but did however participate in an online professional development module several years ago on the use of technology. At the time, technology was new to a vast majority of us and many teachers were interested in learning more. My principal recruited a team of teachers from our school to participate. We were instructed to complete the module within one school year. After reviewing the tasks required, our team was determine to complete the module in four months. We felt we needed two additional components or we may stray away and not complete the module. We believe that we could achieve the required tasks if we set weekly targets and participated in weekly sharing sessions that would motivate and provide instant feedback. We did accomplish the goal and attributed our efforts to the additional support and guidance we gave each other. At the end of the year we discovered that several schools involved were not as fortunate, two thirds of the teachers did not complete the module. An online course needs to set reachable goals, sharing sessions, and timely feedback by the instructor. As Margaret mentioned above, online classes need to have an interactive approach to sharing and learning.
Susan Hagerty , Thu March 22, 2007, 10:36 PM MDT - Online Classes
Online classes are attractive to me, but I am always concerned about the technical aspects, even though I am comfortable using technology. What if something goes wrong with my equipment? Who will I tap to help me trouble shoot the difficulty? That aside, I think that online classes can be very powerful. Just this week I was researching strategies for teaching poetry on the internet. I came across a module on writing in the middle school. There were about six different videos on writing such as creating a writing community, poetry, persuasive writing etc. The different modules effectively used video presentations which I found very useful. The teachers involved discussed and then presented their lessons. I was able to see the teacher model the lesson for the students and then lead them through the writing process. I think the use of videos can be a very useful method for teachers to see master teachers in action.
Liz Cochran , Fri March 23, 2007, 06:01 PM MDT - Online Classes
I am very comfortable with technology, but I prefer blended model that includes both face-to-face and online experiences. I like to get to know the other people I am taking a class with. There are some classes that work well online, such as learning how to perform a specific task, such as using a specific technology tool. Other courses work better face-to-face.
Jeannette Hamman , Fri March 23, 2007, 06:54 PM MDT - On-line learning

While I have not participated in an on-line class, I have taken junior college classes through both TV, and radio. (Biology, Business Law, and Principles of Banking) While most of the instruction was via electronic media, we communicated with a teacher to whom we sent our homework assignments. That person, in return was responsible for grading our work and providing us with a schedule of 'telephone office hours'. In conjunction with this, the class met as a whole group three times throughout the semester. These meetings were primarily review sessions for our two midterms and the finals. They were also an opportunity for us all to get questions answered. Listening to other people's questions is a powerful learning tool. While I felt supported by the face-to-face interaction with teacher and peers, I also really enjoyed the flexibility provided by the ability to tape classes so I could listen to them after work. It seems to me that a lot of teenagers who drop out of high school, might benefit from the opportunity to attend an on-line school. This may also be a way to offer Summer-school classes for kids who have make-ups to do. Many high-school students like to be able to work during the summer. The flexibility of on-line learning may enable students to get the credits they need, without sacrificing their paycheck. If regular high-school automatically contained an on-line component, it might leave time to also include more off-site assignments which could provide opportunities to become better acquainted with more of the exceptional museums, galleries, schools, theaters etc, that this amazing city (and others like it) has to offer.

Jodi Dodds Kinner , Fri March 23, 2007, 09:33 PM MDT - Online Classes
Liz I agree with you that some courses are better with a face-to-face model. I would argue that a coaching course must include time to meet with the instructor and fellow students. Coaching is about developing relationships and trust, providing support and includes talking, thinking and processing with others. A course on coaching must provide an opportunity for the paricipants to engage in experiences similar to a "real life" coaching situation. Currently I am enrolled in a coaching class where we meet in study groups, discuss roles and responsibilities of coaches, the change process, relationships, building literacy teams and how to deal with district mandates. The time listening to my fellow classmates, and engaging in facilitated conversations has been invaluable. I believe in the process of socially constructing meaning and for some us that would be extremely difficult in an online context.
Renee Mackin , Sat March 24, 2007, 07:22 AM MDT - Online Courses
Jody and Liz, I also agree with your comments about online courses vs. traditional courses. I have taken a few online courses over the last few years and have not enjoyed the experience as much as when I am face to face with my peers. Coaching is about building trusting relationships with the adults in your building. Posting doesn't offer the same connection as "talking" with another person. As a teacher in a classroom you become very disconnected from adults and I believe that you need time to share with others and create relationships. As a literacy coach I feel the best part of my job is the trusting relationships that I have created with the teachers in my building. I don't know that this is something I could have online.
Jessica Hudec , Sun March 25, 2007, 07:48 AM MDT - Online Courses

I guess I am considered "old-fashioned" because I prefer taking tests with pencil & paper AND I like reading out of books, not off of the computer. The only experience that I have with "on-line" courses is through my graduate work as a reading specialist. Part of my course requirements is to attend a "live" class and complete "on-line" course work. I prefer the teacher-student interactions instead of "computer work."

If I was in charge of teaching an on-line coaching class, I would be very uncomfortable. Many of you have said the importance of making connections with both the teacher and peers (and I totally agree). I think it would be overwhelming to check all of the on-line assignments AND how can an on-line teacher accurately assess their students and hold each student accountable for their learning?!?!

kelly cahall , Sun March 25, 2007, 11:34 AM MDT - Online Classes
As with several others, I have some limited experience with online classes. I have never taken an online only class without having to meet face to face with a professor. I feel that online classes can be very effective and of course are wonderful for those who have busy schedules. As for online classes about coaching...I cannot imagine them to be as successful as traditional classes. The very foundation of a literacy coach is learning to build relationships with others and to work as a team of peers to reach students. I can't imagine this is something that can be taught over a computer. I think that a face-to-face method would work much better.
Joshua Mull , Mon March 26, 2007, 08:26 AM MDT - Coaching and online classes
I feel that coaching is a hands-on skill and is best learned through being coached. Like many other people I feel more comfortable with a face to face or hybrid courses. I have never taken an online only course, but do not object to them. They seem convenient and keep educators engaged in the learning process. My only suggestion would be that the online courses provide the learners with good examples of what coaching looks like and gives them practical coaching experience. I think we would all agree that “doing” is one of the most effective teachers.
Kim Deceder , Mon March 26, 2007, 05:00 PM MDT - Coaching and online classes
I agree with Joshua. I think that an online course about coaching could be very successful if it is done properly. The learners definitely would need to be provided with good examples of what coaching looks like. I personally love online classes. I like the way that they fit into a busy schedule. However, I have had all positive experiences with online classes so far. I have always had professors who were excellent to work with. They were good at responding through e-mail in a quick and thorough manner. I think that online classes are gaining popularity because they can be successful and they are very convenient for a lot of people.
Amy Peterson , Tue March 27, 2007, 01:26 PM MDT - Online Coaching
I would like to agree with Liz and Jodi. I like the flexibility with online courses, but I do agree that because coaching is a skill that requires continual interaction. I feel that the course must have some type of face to face interaction between the professor (instructor) and the students. I like knowing that I will be able to meet with the professor to answer some questions and to also get their opinions. I also find that I am more motivated to complete assignments on time if I know that someone besides myself is there to hold me accountable (yes I know, I am a procrastinator!). I feel that I would not do well or feel confident with what I have been "taught" coaching a teacher with only online course work.
Holly Voorhees-Carmical , Thu March 29, 2007, 09:43 AM MDT - Coaching and Online Classes

I have taught on-line Masters courses for the last 3 years. I love it and I find it to be very flexible for myself and for my students. I am able to create and maintain a very positive environment and I get to know my students. Not only do we have a rich discussion on the discussion board, but I have one-on-one discussion through the personal message board. One piece that I love when teaching the practicum class is that my students seek out a mentor and work closely with that person for the entire class. The mentor provides feedback for the student and for me. The value of having a mentor at your worksite or in your community is powerful. Throughout the Master's of Reading program, our students work with the children in their classroom and with colleagues. It is a very "hands on" approach. On-line can be very interactive and personable. There are very clear expectations for on-line instruction. Assignments are due at very specific times so even if you are a procrastinator (and I am too!), the expecation is to be on time. I agree that on-line classes are not for everyone. I have found that it has made me a lot more accountable for my instruction, my interaction is more thought out (I can take time to think of my responses), and I have developed long-lasting relationships with some of my students - especially those that I have in more than one class. I also love teaching face-to-face classes. It is easier to have more in-depth conversation and use humor:) I believe that my instruction must be purposeful and thoughtful whether I am face-to-face or on-line.

Brianne Hancock , Thu March 29, 2007, 06:49 PM MDT - Literacy Coaching Courses

I am currently in a course on literacy coaching. There are some things that I can recommend that I feel have truly been beneficial for me and will help me in my future career as a Reading Specialist. One part of our course was focused on examining various reading programs used in schools. We worked in groups to look at one program in particular, and then each group presented to the class. By having every group present, we learned about a wide range of reading programs. This was extremely helpful, for as a Reading Specialist or Literacy Coach, I will need to know about the various reading programs in use.
Another thing that has been very beneficial are all of our discussions on the role of the reading specialist and the literacy coach. There are two texts for this course that specifically are about being a Reading Specialist that have been the guiding forces behind our conversations. The conversations have been invaluable, for we have been able to brainstorm how we will one day handle this position, and our goals for ourselves as Literacy Leaders. This has been one of the best classes I have taken throughout my Masters program. It has tied all the other literacy courses I have taken together, and I truly feel prepared to take this step in my career.

Jessica Janasiewicz , Thu March 29, 2007, 06:49 PM MDT - Literacy Coaching Course

I am currently in school working towards my Masters in Reading, Language, and Literacy. The program is designed to prepare students to become literacy coaches. One of my classes this semester is specifically geared toward the role and job requirements of a coach. This class has been extremely helpful- and I do not think that I would have learned as much if I were taking the class online. I have learned so much from other students in my class which I know will help me in the future. I truly feel that online courses (especially those that are geared towards educating teachers) are ignoring a major part of what it takes to be a teacher and a leader- social interaction.

I have really enjoyed the class that I am in this semester. I feel that the format of the course has worked very well. The class is essentially divided into 3 parts- School Reading Programs, The Role of the Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach, and Theoretical Foundations for Literacy Leadership.

During our School Reading Programs portion- we study various reading programs that are used in schools around the country. We analyze the specific programs in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

While studying the Role of the Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach we are reading a book by Jennifer Allen entitled Becoming a Literacy Leader: Supporting Learning and Change. This book is written by a woman who is actually a literacy coach and her perspective is very realistic and filled with helpful advice.

Lastly, during our Theoretical Foundations for Literacy Leadership we look at the broader picture- discussing social issues/problems and how they relate to literacy.

I really love this structure because I feel that we are really looking at the role of a literacy coach from all angles- I have learned a lot!

Bev Clement , Tue April 03, 2007, 01:44 PM MDT - Literacy Coaching Course
Since literacy coaching seems to be a slippery term – it seems like the job has different characteristics depending on the school district, and even the school, I think that the design of a course for coaching needs to be flexible and welcome a broad range of ideas. I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Reading, Language and Literacy at Georgia State University, and am privileged to be studying under Dr. Lori Elliott, who has designed a course to address all aspects of literacy coaching. Not only has she introduced us to the LLC website, but has also required much research into the responsibilities of a literacy coach. We have reviewed many reading programs to be astute decision makers in supervision of school reading programs, read about urban dilemmas that call for action, questioned a currently employed literacy coach after she presented a description of her job, and have been challenged to look deeply into our own personality traits to determine if this is a career that fits. This course has allowed me to accumulate practical information and guidelines in the interrelated spheres of instruction, assessment and leadership, as well as skills to be better informed when it comes time for the real world.
Nancy Shanklin , Tue April 03, 2007, 08:30 PM MDT - NRC Listserv Discussion on Literacy Coaching, March 07
I had promised that I would post the National Reading Conference (NRC) discussion that started this forum. It's an interesting set of comments with helpful leads - just as your own discussion is turning out to be. I am going to attach it because the 20 entries seem too long to put in as a single response. I do hope that you will read it! I will then also post additional documents that Camille Blachowicz and Diane DeFord sent as part of the discussion. I am hoping that more NRC members will join this conversation on the LCC site.

NRC Discussion on Literacy Coaching-March 07

Nancy Shanklin , Tue April 03, 2007, 08:48 PM MDT - National-Louis University Literacy Coaching Model
This is the attachment that Camille Blachowicz sent as part of the NRC listserv discussion. She wrote: I am attaching out latest outline of the coach's role which is connected to research we have done in Chicago Public Schools on the indicators of school change with Lizanne De Stefano and Matthew Hanson of the University of Illinois. We are presenting those indicators, a whole set of which involve the principal and the infrastructure of the school, at AERA, so people might like to come.

NLU Literacy Coaching Model

Nancy Shanklin , Tue April 03, 2007, 08:50 PM MDT - Diane DeFord - Attachment 1
This is the first of three attachments that Diane DeFord sent to the NRC Listserv discussion. This links to the South Carolina Reading Initiative.

Coaching Rounds

Nancy Shanklin , Tue April 03, 2007, 08:52 PM MDT - Diane DeFord - Attachment 2
This is the second attachment that Diane sent. Again, her work links to the South Carolina Reading Initiative.


Nancy Shanklin , Tue April 03, 2007, 08:54 PM MDT - Diane DeFord - Attachment 3
This is the third and final of Diane's attachments. Diane is on the LCC National Advisory Board. She has written the LCC brief on Do's and Don'ts for Literacy Coaches with Rita Bean. Diane will be hosting a forum here in May!

Sketch of Coaching Weeks 06

Danielle Conrad , Wed April 04, 2007, 04:55 PM MDT - Learning and Teaching on-line

I first must say I enjoyed reading the discussion posted from the NRC web-site. There were some great ideas and resources suggested by those who participated in the discussion. There are several books that I am interested in reading. I read most of the postings and can see why Nancy Shanklin wanted to continue the discussion. While there some great ideas presented not much many suggestions were made regarding an on-line literacy coaching course.

I have taken several courses available on-line and several hybrid courses that are part on-line and on-sight. There are definitely some benefits and some set backs in conducting an online course. In an online course you could take advantage of some of the great resources that are available on-line. You could use web-sites like this one or the NRC site at part of the class. There are some great articles in the library portion of this web-site. There are also lots of technology opportunities available for conducting an on-line course, for example, discussion boards, online video recourses, texts available on the internet. There is even a way to arrange for live online chats. Many colleges and universities have an online communication system that allows this type of interaction to occur. And like Holly suggested, discussions that are conducted on-line can be much richer than discussions conducted in person. In on-line discussions you are not limited by time, everyone gets a chance to contribute, and you can think about what you want to say before you actually say it (this also prevents having to stick your foot in your mouth). There is however one important key to teaching a successful on-line course. It is important that the instructor is not only be knowledgeable of the material, but also knowledgeable on how to fully utilize the internet as a teaching tool. I need to remind you that my point of view is that of a student. In my experiences when the professor was knowledgeable of the various ways to use the internet, I got so much more from the course. As mentioned previously in this discussion, on-line course can also be complete at an individualized pace. Students work when they have time.

However, it was already mentioned in this discussion that there are some drawbacks. I agree that you do loose some personal contact and collaboration. One of my professors for an on-line course asked us to email him any time we thought he was going to quickly or we had any questions. In an email he said, “I can not see the whites of your eyes.” He wasn’t sure we were understanding or how we were coming along in the course. As teachers we can tell if a students does or does not understand throw their responses and you can’t do that in an on-line course.

I, like Liz, prefer the on-line/on-sight classes. You get the benefits of both types of courses. You can work at your own pace and still get personal interaction and collaboration.

douglas kussius , Thu April 05, 2007, 12:40 PM MDT - Course Design for Literacy Coach- The time factor

I have always been a believer that teaching is as much an art form as it is a science. Good teacher are born, great teachers are made. There must be a certain intuitive feel a teacher has. As this thread has evolved you can see that it has lead to a conversation about the fall backs of on-line class being impersonal, I think it is more important to realize that the person that will be the reading coach needs to be drawn out whatever format.
I, like many other people who have posted on this forum, am a student working on my masters in literacy with a specialist concentration. The course work I have taken has given me a great understanding of how literacy evolves and how to identify and address the needs of my students. I feel that upon completion I will totally be competent to handle the role of a reading specialist. I will know the resources to go to offer friendly suggestions. I will be knowledgeable enough to navigate school mandates and curriculum changes to ensure success for my students. I will not however, be immediately ready to be a coach. I believe there should be a line drawn in the sand between a coach and a specialist. To embody the analogy of a coach you need more than understanding the science of the matter, you need to know teaching and teachers. Nancy Shanklin posted Diane DeFord’s attachment Sketch of Coaching Weeks 06 on April 3rd. In that document you can see an emphasis on training a specialist to become a coach by giving special attention in topics such as ‘Building a Community of Trust’ and ‘Teachers as Learners’. The many hats of a reading specialist are multiplied when they become the coach. They must assume the role of a true team leader and build a team of learners who are willing to follow them. A football coach that has not earned the respect of his/her team through demonstrated milestones will be hard pressed to get the team to do exactly as they desire.
I suggest, perhaps, that a key component to any coaching degree program (on-line or otherwise) is time. Time is needed for reading teachers to know the ins and outs of the classrooms they will be visiting. Time is needed for them to hone their own skills before they can be expected to guide colleagues. Time and experience and a natural rapport as a respected and trusted leader in the school are all at the heart of the issue and extend beyond a discussion that can occur. They extend to a life that must have been lived, mistakes that have been made, and true success that can be shared and serve as a model from which to guide your team.

Heather DeMedio , Sun April 08, 2007, 01:47 PM MDT - Comments on Online Courses
I think that Margaret makes a great point about the differences between current online classes and the older online class models. I am part of the millennial generation, and I do feel like my generation is and must be technologically AWARE! In order to compete in today's job market and be well-rounded educators, we have to know our stuff when it comes to technology. As far as classes/courses go, I have taken several hybrid classes through my university that allow graduate students to attend half of their classes on site and half of their classes online. The mix gives students flexibility to a hectic schedule. Because it is split 50/50, we get a chance to meet in person to openly discuss important topics, and we have a chance to share our knowledge through discussion boards, postings, PowerPoint presentations, and so on. I truly enjoy the blended class approach. In addition to hybrid classes, I have also taken online courses through our intermediate unit and through educational websites. In both scenarios, the classes had video clips to watch, articles/documents to read, and a sharing component through discussion boards. With such hectic demands and busy schedules, it is nice to have online classes that people can connect to at their convenience. Even though I like both approaches, I think a blended course that meets in person and online will make the most impact on the participants.
Jenna Lockhart , Sun April 08, 2007, 04:14 PM MDT - Literacy Coaching courses
I am currently working on my M.Ed. in Reading, Language, and Literacy. I am taking a class devoted to the Reading Specialist job. I can’t imagine being enrolled in a class such as this online. The learning that takes place inside the classroom is extremely valuable. I have taken online classes during my educational career; however, I find the discussion less than it is inside a classroom. In terms of classes specifically designed around the job of a literacy coach or reading specialist, an important component of these jobs is working well with others and discussing issues with those that may think differently than you do. Can we accomplish this through online discussions? I’m not sure. I have always been a strong believer in students learning through each other. I have found during my learning that my understanding of my reading grows by discussing with others. I recently interviewed for a Reading Specialist position. During my interview I felt extremely prepared for the questions that were asked. I believe this is due in part to the discussions in the class and the reading we were assigned. Through this class I have learned valuable information about the role of a Reading Specialist. One of the most important aspects of the class was researching particular reading programs. Through this I became better able to examine programs and decide whether they fit into my philosophy of reading education.
Kristen Hall , Mon April 09, 2007, 03:31 PM MDT - Online Courses
Like any course/professional development opportunity, on-line literacy coaching courses have pros and cons. I feel that the major pro of an on-line class is that it is easy in terms of sharing electronic resources and information. Links to book descriptions, journal articles, websites, and electronic presentations are very easy to post on-line and are easy for others to access. On-line courses can also be completed by participants at their own pace. I’m sure there are many other great benefits to on-line courses. However, on-line courses are not my preference. I feel that social interaction is key in learning, and while I’m sure this can be facilitated in an on-line forum, for me it is no substitute for face-to-face interactions. One of the most beneficial experiences I have had this semester in my literacy coaching class (I am a Master’s student in a Reading, Language, and Literacy program) was a visit from a public school literacy coach. She spoke to our class about her experiences for over two hours and was incredibly helpful. We were able to have immediate interaction with her and we could not have experienced this through an on-line class, I feel. It may just depend on your own personal learning style, but I prefer face-to-face interaction in my courses and professional development experiences.
Thomas Chiola , Wed April 11, 2007, 04:24 AM MDT - Coaching courses
I believe that coaching cannot be taught effectively on-line for several reasons. You need the personal, social interaction between coach and coachee. Body language and facial expressions are important to the success of any coaching relationship. Second, coaching is a socially constructed activity that takes place in the context of one's work, just like coaching in sports. Removing it from the context of where the work is done is ineffective, in my opinion. Coaching is about peole and conversation.
Gena Tokar , Wed April 11, 2007, 11:29 AM MDT - Coaching Classes
I am currently enrolled in a literacy coaching class. The class meets both online and on site. The on site classes are very limited due to the amount of time spent in a classroom. I think that the best way to experience literacy coaching and learn about it is through observations. Districts have varying roles of literacy coaches so it is also important to discuss the different roles that you could hold.
Jaime Harkins , Wed April 11, 2007, 02:56 PM MDT - Coaching Courses
There are many benefits to meeting for a course in person however; in today’s society it can also be a challenge to find the time to meet every week with the fast pace of our lives. The best lessons are learned through collaboration and observation. In my experience, I have found it difficult to find schools that are currently implementing a program with reading coaches. This has made it difficult for me to observe one in the coaching position and has made a class assignment in which I have to serve as a reading coach for another teacher more challenging. One way, I feel this challenge could be over come for classes that meet in person or online, would be to have more videos or online workshops available where successful reading coaches could model the process of coaching and provide suggestions for new coaches.
Erika Shavulsky , Wed April 11, 2007, 07:14 PM MDT - On-line Coursework

In response to an earlier posting about on-line classes and workshops, I feel that there are both positive and negative aspects of such courses. Society is most definitely moving towards an on-line, easy accessibility trend. Advertisements for on-line support, college degree programs, and world-wide chat rooms are only the beginning of this new technological era.

Some benefits of on-line courses include ease of use. In today’s society everyone wants things quicker, easier, and more convenient. What can be more convenient than learning new skills from the comfort of your living room? It allows us to communicate freely with people from all over the world. It opens new ideas, and lacks discrimination that society may encounter when interacting face to face. However, with all good things, there are also drawbacks. As convenient as on-line courses are, they lack personalization. People do not have the opportunity to meet each other to discuss things in person. Face to face interaction can often be more meaningful, especially to visual or auditory learners. On-line classes may lack people-skills, limiting the ways participants can interact.

I have taken several on-line classes. I found them beneficial, but I missed the daily interaction with real people instead of screen names. One just has to decide how important ease of use and convenience is. Several years from now I’m not sure if many people will have a choice whether or not to take on-line courses. It certainly seems as if technology truly is the wave of the future.

Erika Shavulsky , Wed April 11, 2007, 07:24 PM MDT - On-line Coaching
I agree with many of the other postings. Learning how to be a successful reading coach is comprised of interactions with teachers, students, parents, and administrators. How one can effectively portray the role of a coach through a number of forum discussions and research articles? Although the discussions and articles are extremely valuable to the education of a literacy coach, it is the interaction with others that embodies the role of a literacy coach. Without conducting interviews with faculty members, observing teachers in their academic settings, and reading the non-verbal reactions of all involved, the literacy coach may miss out on very valuable information. How many times have you written a message to someone and they misinterpreted it because they could not hear the tone of voice you wrote the message in? Communication is so very important in the field of education, but especially to a literacy coach, whose entire position revolves around effective communication within the school community.
Elizabeth Stauffer , Fri April 13, 2007, 10:22 PM MDT - The Teaching of a Literacy Coaching Course
Since I have not participated in an on-line course I don't feel qualified to comment on the subject. I have also never taught a college course. I am, however, currently in a class titled "Effective Literacy Coaching". This course is the "old fashion" type; we meet in a classroom and read books and articles. It is a wonderful class taught with passion by two professors who have teaching and coaching experience. I enrolled in the course because my role as a reading specialist at my school is beginning to include coaching work. So I am new to the world of coaching and have found it to be complicated, exciting, terrifying, and promising all at the same time. So how to approach the teaching of course on coaching...? As a student, I feel that what my professors have done in their approach to teaching about coaching is to model good coaching strategies themselves. Any coaching class would likely have participants with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience levels. Therefore collaboration, respect, and a great deal of interaction between students and professors in constructing the direction of the class is very important. The required reading should also be carefully considered especially when you look at how many titles are being published on the subject of coaching. I also feel that regardless of how a course on coaching is organized, there should be high expectations for those enrolled. A topic as complicated as coaching should be taught to students who are committed life-long learners and who are able to wrestle with difficult issues. I feel that the coaching class that I am currently a part of is working very well. Since our professors are flexible, respectful, and constantly modeling how to work with a diverse group of learners we are able to watch good coaching in action. From the perspective of a first-time coach, I don't think you can get much better than that!
kelly cahall , Sun April 15, 2007, 01:16 PM MDT - Sharing literature, sharing lives
On a slightly different topic...I read Egawa's article from the library, From the Coaches' Corner: Sharing Literature, Sharing Lives and thought that it had an excellent idea. The literacy coaches in the article had the opportunity to meet monthly for 2-3 days to share in literature experiences. The premise behind these meetings was that you can't teach something that you can't do so coaches need the chance to experience literature themselves, before teaching it. I love this! It would be so powerful as a teacher/coach to be able to share in these types of literature experiences before trying to create them in the classroom. One of the literature experiences mentioned in the article was a poetry experience. Personally, I am very weak when it comes to my knowledge of poetry. I know that I would benefit from a poetry experience if I were to teach poetry to my students. I think this also speaks to the fact that coaches need face to face training before they begin their teaching experiences.
jennifer spence , Sun April 15, 2007, 04:30 PM MDT - Online Literacy Coach Course
I am currently a graduate student taking a practicum course in a Reading Specialist program. As part of my program requirments, I am currently taking a course that is set up where we are required to work closely with a reading specialist. Because this requires so much time outside of the classroom setting, we are only meeting a few times during the semester and the rest of our course work is online. I have found the shadowing of, and working closely with, a reading specialist to be most valuable. It reminds me of the experience that I gained during student teaching. Reading information provided by a textbook is helpful, but I am more likely to really think about the information that I am reading when I am forced to put it into practice (or observe it being put into practice) I learn much more. Since so much time is required outside the classroom setting, I am grateful for the online portion of the course. My professor is very thorough in her explanation of information that she puts online and this makes it much easier. She is also very communicative via email, so I never feel as though I am on my own, as I have in other online courses.
Amanda Errington , Mon April 16, 2007, 03:54 PM MDT - Will online become the norm??
Most of us enjoy the hybrid classes which enable us to do a lot of our class discussion online. After reading over several of the responses the reasons behind the attractiveness of these online courses is due to the hectic lives we all live. We are constantly rushing around, trying to get this done, emailing, IMing, texting, chatting on our cell phones. Now as future coaches, specialists, and teachers we are taking the interpersonal skills out of the very profession we love. How is it possible to learn what needs to be learned about being a coach or a specialist more so a teacher able to be accomplished sitting in front of a computer screen all the time? Don’t get me wrong it is convenient on some occasions but for all of the courses? When we graduate most of us won’t be talking with our students via email. How are we supposed to gain the experience that is needed to become a great teacher and an even better coach while chatting about it on the web? I also am afraid that all of these online courses will slowly become the norm and then where will our jobs be? Just something to ponder…..
alexa contes , Tue April 17, 2007, 08:46 PM MDT - online class
I am writing in response to Amanda’s questions about online classes becoming the norm. Technology is no longer a futuristic idea. Even in our classrooms today, we see that technology has taken an edge on simple tasks such as our grade-books. I myself, find it hard to fathom an educational system that will be primarily online. I prefer seeing my students and watching them become engaged in hands-on activities. I think that online classes will eventually be more appealing for most students. However, I feel that it will be a matter of convenience for them and in turn, they will feel it is the “smarter” option. I also am worried that these students will miss out on an education that could have only been enriched by social interaction, and enhanced by hands on experiences. There will always be a need for teachers. However, I too wonder, in the future, how many of us will take lunch-count, monitor bathroom breaks and recess, and set up hands-on centers.
Amy Peterson , Wed April 18, 2007, 01:23 PM MDT - Sharing Literature, Sharing Lives
I, along with Kelly, found the article Sharing Literature, Sharing Lives by Egawa, Files, Coskie, Buly and Robinson to be interesting. I related the idea of coaches meeting as a group to discuss literacy experiences to a discussion in my last class. The professor said that a very important, but often overlooked, component of coaching is professional development for the coach. Coaches should continue their work by attending workshops, seminars, discussion groups, etc. to allow them to strengthen themselves professionally as well. Coaches are so often caught up in providing and arranging professional development for the teachers, that they don't allow time for themselves to grow professionally. I found that this article touched on this idea.
Kim Deceder , Thu April 19, 2007, 10:10 AM MDT - Response to Jennifer

I am in the same hybrid online/on-site class as Jennifer, and I agree with her totally. I am learning so much more about reading specialists and literacy coaches through field observations and experiences, rather than through hearing about them during class lectures. I really like the idea of having online classes mixed with practical experience.

In our classrooms, we believe that students learn more from being active participants in the learning, rather than from simply reading the information and taking notes. I believe that this is true for all levels of learning, including college students. Therefore, I feel that this structure for a class is much more valuable than one designed as a lecture course in a traditional classroom.

On the other hand, this format of a class requires a lot of self-discipline and effective time management. However, the professor has done an excellent job of structuring the class effectively and communicating with the students on a regular and timely basis.

kelly cahall , Sun April 22, 2007, 06:46 AM MDT - Hybrid Classes
Being in the same class as Jennifer and Kim, I comletely agree with their statements. A hybrid class that mixes online work with class time and practical experience has been very beneficial. Being able to shadow a professional and then relate what she does to my readings has taught me a lot. Not only have I come away with much knowledge from this class, but the online part of it is very appealing as it fits into my crazy schedule. It does require much self-discipline as Kim stated, but it fits into my life. Hybrid classes if done correctly are really ideal.
jennifer spence , Sun April 22, 2007, 05:25 PM MDT - Response to Kim Deceder
I also agree with what Kim is saying about our online course, it requires a huge amount of self-discipline. In some respect, I find this very liberating. I am tired of sitting in Elementary Education classrooms where I am treated as though I am a first grader. I agree with the interactive classroom, but I'm 29 years old and sick and tired of making crafts! On the flip side of this, I find it all to be very overwhelming also...almost suffocating at times. In this course, I feel as though I am forturnate to be working with a great professor and reading specialist which helps to relieve some of my self-doubt.
Jessica Knoop , Thu April 26, 2007, 04:07 PM MDT - Reading Specialists and On-line courses
I am a graduate student in my second graduate program. I also have completed an add-on certificate for Learning Disabilities/Behavior Disorders. I have not ever taken an on-line course. I have sometimes wished for several of my course to be on-line for the convenience factor. However, I must say the classroom environment is essential to colleague conversation and collaboration. Jennifer Allen tells us in her book, that conversation and collaboration with co-workers is essential to be an effective literacy coach. The classroom experience can not be replaced by a computer course, even if moderated by a professor. Could one of our 3rd, 6th, or 9th graders take a way from an online course what they could from the classroom, absolutely not. So, why do we as adults feel this is an acceptable way to learn? The computer may provide discussion boards but it does not provide personal interaction. The computer may let us post assignments, but it cam clarify, have conversation, or brainstorm a problem like a class can. Technology is wonderful, and I even think for some professionals that on-line classes are acceptable. However, they are not what doctors, lawyers, and you guessed teachers need.
alexa contes , Mon April 30, 2007, 06:48 AM MDT - response to jessica
   In response to Jessica's comments about online classes, I agree that much of the social interaction and collaboration is lost when courses are online. I also agree that for most elementary students that online classes may be difficult. However, with the growing social problems in our society, the option of Cyber School is really a blessing. Many of the children who cannot handle social settings and are emotionally disturbed benefit from the online interactions. If these students were placed in a normal classroom setting, they would be a disruption. 
Also, I believe that some liberal studies can be taken online at the college level. Math and social studies classes that are offered online are sometimes more convenient for individuals who work. This enables the students to gain the knowledge provided by the course, but allows a more flexible schedule.
Laura Mumaw , Wed May 02, 2007, 08:10 PM MDT - Cyber classes
In response to Jessica and Alexa, I agree that online classes are becoming the norm rather than the exception. For the professional, I believe that online classes can definitely be a blessing. I know others who have gotten an entire Master’s Degree through online schooling. This is definitely a convenience, but I agree that something is lost when all schooling is done through the computer. Technology is amazing, but nothing is better than the face-to-face interaction one gets in class with peers and a teacher/professor. I do think that this is extremely true with young children. So much social development takes place at school. To completely remove that seems to be something of a tragedy. I believe that online classes and schooling can be a wonderful supplement to traditional schooling, but not a complete replacement.
Heather DeMedio , Wed May 09, 2007, 01:07 PM MDT - Response to Laura on Cyber Class
I too believe that online classes are becoming the norm and convenience is the name of the game with our society. For those with full time positions and many other obligations, the online educational track looks very attractive. As an educator, I also feel that something is lost without ANY face-to-face interaction. I love discussing difficult topics in small groups with my colleagues. For adult learning, I think that online courses are very helpful, but they might be MOST beneficial to students if there was a combination of online and in class experiences. Earlier, I posted that my current grad class is a hybrid between online and on land. I think it works wonderfully. You get the interaction and feedback that you need without the constant interruption of scheduled classes day after day. For younger children, I do worry about Cyber School because I too think that so much of our social interactions comes from school and after school activities.
Sarah Merante , Sat May 26, 2007, 12:02 PM MDT - Online vs. live classes
I feel that online classes are good, but cannot compare to having a live class -- especially for someone studying to become a literacy coach. If this job entails mostly working with teachers and other administrators, I feel online classes will not help a student become successful. So much of our jobs as teachers is working with other people. People skills are a must in the school, because you are constantly working with parents, kids, other teachers, adminstrators and community members. By having a live class, and working in groups it gives us real life opportunities to work with difficult people we may encounter in our profession. Online classes don't give us that opportunity.
Sarah Merante , Sat May 26, 2007, 12:02 PM MDT - Online vs. live classes
I feel that online classes are good, but cannot compare to having a live class -- especially for someone studying to become a literacy coach. If this job entails mostly working with teachers and other administrators, I feel online classes will not help a student become successful. So much of our jobs as teachers is working with other people. People skills are a must in the school, because you are constantly working with parents, kids, other teachers, adminstrators and community members. By having a live class, and working in groups it gives us real life opportunities to work with difficult people we may encounter in our profession. Online classes don't give us that opportunity.
Amy Dickson , Sun May 27, 2007, 06:41 PM MDT - Online vs. Live
As I read the responses from others, I found myself agreeing with everyone. I too have taken numerous Hybrid courses (half online, half onsite) and have truly enjoyed them. Even though the online portions of the classes are easier to complete because you can do them from home on your own time, I feel no urge to have to complete them immediately as I would if the class was meeting everyday. I find myself becoming more of a procrastinator (which is typically not my nature) because I know I have more time to complete the work. I feel that instead of having an entire class online, that the hybrid courses work best. You don't miss out on the socialization/personalization aspect of the course but yet you still have some freedom to work on your own. I feel that young students would benefit from this type of situation more so than from a class that is strictly online. It is important for students to be technologically aware but not solely rely on it. As for teaching a person how to be a literacy coach online....?? Well, I am a hands on learner and I benefit more from seeing things done in person than I do from reading it in a book or article, so teaching the entire course online would not be beneficial to me. It may be beneficial to some, I think that is a decision you need to make on your own as to what works best for you.
Joni Kostelnik , Thu June 07, 2007, 01:21 PM MDT - Online Classes

I recently just finished a web based class for graduate school. Although I did learn a lot, it was very difficult for me to not have that person-to-person interaction. One convenience is not having to drive any where. You can complete activities from home and at the pace you choose. You only have to make sure that your assignments are posted by the given time.
Although I've grown up in the Millenial generation, I still don't feel very technology saavy compared to younger students. My seventh graders know more about the Internet, IPods, razor phones, etc. than I ever will.

I am currently taking a graduate practicum class for my master's in Reading. It's part online and part live. I find this to be the best balace for myself. I still am able to meet with my professor when I have questions, I still get the live lectures, but there are days when I can work at home and I don't have to drive 40 minutes to have class.

I truly believe online classes are successful dependant upon what type of learner you are. For me, a balanced approach works best.

Beth LaGamba , Mon June 11, 2007, 10:26 AM MDT - Courses on Literacy Coaching

Another topic... I am so excited that more Universities are beginning to add courses on Literacy Coaching. As someone who got my reading specialist certification with three years of teaching experience, four undergraduate reading classes, and a Praxis test, I was surprised when I was hired as a Literacy Coach without really knowing what the job entailed. I have come to find that not knowing exactly what a Literacy Coach does is not at all uncommon. Nationwide even the teachers and administrators that work with coaches and the coaches themselves seem to be somewhat confused. It turned out that I was a "jack of all trades." I taught Title I reading, planned inservices, chose materials, covered classes, coached teachers, called parents, compiled data, assessed students, attended many meetings...the list goes on and on. I plan to get out of the coaching business and go back to having a primary classroom of my own, but I have great respect for all of the pioneers who are willing to stick with it through these beginning years of uncertainty. I loved the diagram included in the article from the Library section of this site, "From the Coaches Corner: What is a Literacy Coach?" (Riddle, M., Coskie, T., Robinson L., & Egawa,K.) The diagram gave examples and nonexamples of what a Literacy Coach should be doing. Hopefully as more people become aware of what it really means to be a Literacy Coach, coaches can have an even greater impact on our schools and our children.

Kristi Parker , Mon June 11, 2007, 06:58 PM MDT - Hybrid Part Online/Part on-site
I to am participating in a class for my Masters in Reading that is partially online and partially on site. I find it to be the best of both worlds. I work for a year round school so I do not have my summers to work on coursework. This class allows me to work at home, complete observations in my school, and meet on-site to discuss coursework, progress, assignments, etc. The part I find challenging is staying on top of my assignments and not procrastinating. I have found that creating a schedule for myself similar to what the traditional semester would look like keeps me on schedule. I think it is important to have these types of classes for people like me who do not have time off from school to complete classes.
Cassie Headley , Sun June 17, 2007, 02:25 PM MDT - Online/On-site

Although online classes are very convenient for students like myself who are working full time, as well as trying to get their Masters, no matter how organized and good they are, I think it is difficult to learn all that you need to learn through them. I took a special education course online recently, and enjoyed it, but know that there is information that I missed, and didn't fully understand being that I was not face to face with an instructor. I think the type of class also plays a big role in how successful you are in that class. I am so excited that schools are now offering classes on literacy coaching. Being that my job is to coach many teachers in many different schools districts, it is reassuring to know that programs are being developmed to help people in the literacy coaching role. I feel that literacy coaching courses need to be very hands-on, which definitely takes a lot of time. In the class that I am taking now, there have been opportunities to observe literacy coaches, interview administrators regarding literacy coaching, and opportunities to create activities that are typical of a literacy coach. I feel that all of these things are very important, but of course very time consuming. It is definitely a struggle and a lot of work to be successful in this type of class when working full time. However, I feel that a literacy coaching course without the hands-on work, would not be beneficial to a future literacy coach!

Amy Dickson , Thu June 21, 2007, 08:21 AM MDT - Dear Beth,
Beth, after reading your response, I felt so many things. I felt badly that you probably had one crazy year--being hired as a coach and not really understanding what it entailed, but also, I would like to give props to you for all that you did do. It sounds like you had a jam-packed year but got through it all right. I think that being a literacy coach is very demanding and chaotic at the same time. Just reading about what some literacy coaches do daily makes me go crazy!! I too enjoyed the diagram from the library article you mentioned!
Amy Odorczyk , Thu June 21, 2007, 08:24 PM MDT - comments about an online course

I am glad to see that there will be more resources available for teachers who are interested in Literacy Coaching. I have used the words Literacy Coach within my high school and a majority of the teachers are very unfamiliar with that term. Providing a course that would inform teachers on how literacy coaching works within the classroom and the ideas and theories behind it would be a great idea. I think it would be a great personal development tool to use within our school. Spreading the word about how a Literacy Coach can be implemented within the classroom would help the teachers that are unfamiliar become more open to the idea.
Although teaching an online course to teachers that want to become Literacy Coaches may be a lot more difficult. I agree with the majority of the responses in this forum and believe that learning to become a Literacy Coach should be more of a hands on learning experience. Through my own graduate experience, I benefit from seeing demonstrations in class and also hearing feedback from colleagues whom are already teaching in the reading field.

Nancy Shanklin , Fri July 13, 2007, 01:52 PM MDT - What topics seem most important to cover in a course on Literacy Coaching?

As director of the Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse, I have been asked by IRA and NCTE to begin putting together an exemplar syllabus for a course(s) in literacy coaching. This whole thread provides much useful information for such an effort. Thanks to everyone!

I am wondering if you would tell me what topics you have found to be most helpful and useful as part of literacy coaching courses. I want to be sure that these areas are covered in any exemplar syllabus that others might borrow from. I look forward to learning and then including your responses.

Beth LaGamba , Fri July 13, 2007, 01:56 PM MDT - Professional Development for Coaches
I enjoyed reading the article posted on the library section of this site entitled, “From the Coaches’ Corner: Sharing Literacy, Sharing Lives” by Egawa and others. In it, the authors describe a program in South Carolina in which literacy coaches from many different schools come together for a few days each month for professional development. During this time, the coaches read, share, and live literacy. The creators say that their workshops are based on understanding that you can’t teach something that you don’t do and that a passionate love for literacy transforms teaching. I think that as literacy coaches become the primary means of professional development for many districts, the districts are often forgetting that the coaches themselves will need excellent and ongoing professional development in order to be a good resource for their peers. This article showed one way in which this professional learning could be done.
Beth LaGamba , Fri July 13, 2007, 02:15 PM MDT - Topics for a Course on Coaching

Nancy, In response to your question about topics for literacy coaching courses, here are a few that I would recommend: roles of a literacy coach, strategies for working with administrators, teachers, and parents, adult learning, leadership, collaboration, web sites, professional organizations and other places to gather information, and workshops or seminars that are useful to attend. I would also recommend using the course as an opportunity for a lot of hands-on experiences such as working with a classroom teacher, conducting a professional development session, or analyzing data to determine the needs of students and teachers in a school. All of these things would be very beneficial to someone who will become a literacy coach.

Joni Kostelnik , Mon July 16, 2007, 12:50 PM MDT - Topics
I agree with Beth. I think one of the most important tools when coaching is analyzing the data that you receive. Being a special education teacher, I look at and utilize many tests and projects that my students complete. It can be a daunting task when you have so many pages of information on each student. Simply trying to read through all of it is stressful. Besides analyzing data, the other important area would be a focus on hands-on learning. Students of grad school or literacy coaching classes need that time with a literacy coach who is exceptional. I would highly recommend as many hours as possible, but even one day is so helpful. It gives great insight into the meaning of being a literacy coach.
Amanda Weaver , Mon July 16, 2007, 05:05 PM MDT - Topics for a course on coaching
Nancy, these are a few suggestions to include as literacy coaching topics as Beth had mentioned: shadowing a reading coach, effective professional development, and working with parents, administrators, and other teachers. I have found these to be the most beneficial to me throughout my graduate program. Being a special education teacher, I feel that I have a pretty good grasp on how to deal with parents and other teachers, however some of my collegues do not. But I do not feel as though I know how to communicate with admistrators very well. How to create and then follow-up on an effective professional development workshop is very involved. This is an area in which a reading coach would need some direction if they would like to encourage literacy. Learning how adults learn was very beneficial to me to help provide a professional workshop. Also, giving time to let a professional shadow another professional is very beneficial. I have learned so many new things by teaching inclusion with other teachers and shadowing reading specialist/coaches. By watching someone, I can better understand a concept. Those are the things that I thought were most beneficial to me.
Amanda Weaver , Mon July 16, 2007, 05:22 PM MDT - Online vs. live classes
I am a person who likes change. I do like online classes if it is something that I need to take as an elective to get out of the way. However, the teacher side of me likes to have traditional class because I believe that teaching and learning is a social action. It is hard to have social interaction when you are at home. This class that I am taking both online and and live is great. You get the best of both worlds. You can interact on certain days and stay home in your PJs and get work done at your own pace. Either way as a teacher, I never would have wanted most of my classes to be all online. A balance is what works the best.
Kirstin Sheppard , Tue July 17, 2007, 09:58 AM MDT - online courses
I agree with most of the other responses that like online classes if they are combined with on-site sessions. I've had one all on-line class and I think it requires more self-discipline since there is no designated class session. A few other of my classes have been partially online and I think it's easier to let those assignments go to the last minute because you don't always meet face to face with the teacher. Since many of my 6th grade students are still learning time management skills, I think students would have trouble keeping up with their work in Cyber School. It's so tempting to check e-mail or go to other websites when you're sitting at a computer. This year I plan on using Blackboard a little with students and I wonder how responsible they will be using that tool. I guess I’ll just have to find out!
Kirstin Sheppard , Tue July 17, 2007, 10:11 AM MDT - Literacy Coaching Courses
I've never taught a literacy coaching course, but I've taken many since I'm in a reading specialist program. From my experiences, so much of what I've learned has come from listening to my professors in class. When they talk, they always give great strategies and tips that I don't think I would have learned through an online class. Obviously typing takes longer than talking, so I don't think that teachers would include everything in an online course that they would include in person. A few things that would be difficult to share through an online class are picture books and children’s novels with teaching suggestions. Also, those teachable moments when something comes up in a discussion, may not happen as frequently through online discussion boards. Overall, students probably don't learn quite as much from online classes, and literacy coaching is a field where you have to learn by talking to and observing 'experts' in the field.
Amy Dickson , Thu July 19, 2007, 09:23 AM MDT - Classes
Since I am not a literacy coach, only in a reading specialist program, I think that I would most benefit from professional development workshops and from one on one time shadowing a literacy coach. I agree with Beth (and others) on all of the topics that need to be covered. I also feel that there needs to be more awareness of literacy coaching. I have talked with numerous teachers who have never heard of a literacy coach. So not only do I feel that we in the reading spec. program would benefit, I feel that inservice teachers would benefit from that type of class as well.
Brenna Sisinni , Wed July 25, 2007, 12:11 PM MDT - Online Classes
I am currently taking classes towards my reading specialist certificate and am also working on my masters in reading. I have taken many classes that meet both online and on land. I feel that if you are going to offer classes online they also need to meet live. A lot can be accomplished online through blackboard and various resources, but there is nothing that can replace meeting with a qualified instructor. We as teachers know that the teacher is the number one indicator of student success. I believe that this philosophy continues at the graduate level. I hope that our fast paced society doesn't loose sight of that.
Joni Kostelnik , Fri July 27, 2007, 08:48 AM MDT - Technology
Although technology has many wonderful attributes, it also does not make up for the simple things in life. I don't deal well with change. When classes are offered online, I do attempt to take them, but I definitely don't learn as much as have an instructor physically present for class. I deal much better with a real person as opposed to a computer. I need that face-to-face interaction to acquire the most learning from a class. However, online classes are much better than driving for 45 minutes to go to class!
Amy VanIddekinge , Fri July 27, 2007, 09:52 PM MDT - Online
I agree with Joni...there is something about the face to face interaction with an instructor that really impacts how you learn the information in the class. I do think there are classes where there does not need to be physical meeting every week such as this class because the bulk of the learning was doing assignments in a school.

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