The new issue of Innovate: The Journal of Online Education features a thoughtful article by Teachers College’s Susan Lowes about the possibilities arising from an emerging cohort of “trans-classroom” teachers:
…Although face-to-face and online courses do indeed take place in separate environments, the social field of the teacher who teaches them increasingly includes both. And as a teacher moves, either simultaneously or serially, from one environment to the other, the course being taught will also be transformed as it is shaped and reshaped to fit first one context and then the other….This research, exploratory though it is, suggests that giving more teachers the opportunity to teach online, as well as deliberately encouraging those who do teach online to share what they have learned with their fellow classroom teachers, provides an opportunity to strengthen teaching in both environments.
As I wrote last week, the future for education is neither a fully virtual nor a parallel system, but an integrated one. Dr. Lowes’ research focuses us in the right direction: Away from the false online vs. classroom dichotomy and towards an understanding of how to improve teaching practice across a multiplicity of learning environments.