1. I am aspiring for a career in teaching. While it is known that teaching requires sound subject knowledge, but it requires skills and attributes that go well beyond it. One of the skills is communication which has particularly assumed higher value in the digital communication revolution. Besides, it is imperative for the teacher to effective empathise with the student which allows for better motivation of students coupled with superior performance. Additionally, with the changing digitalisation of education, it is imperative to be creative while remaining objective so as to ensure that the learning outcomes are met. Also, patience and mutual respect is an essential attribute so as to not limit the scope to those who are performing well but to extend help to those who actually need their services the most. Last but not the least would be the self-confidence so to be able to engage the students in a fruitful manner (SkillsYouNeed, nd).
2. Online learning is quite different from learning in other contexts. One of the key differences in this regards is the high degree of flexibility that online learning programs offer which makes is exceptionally popular amongst the learners today. The traditional classroom based learning is quite static and time bound and essentially limited the purview of students unlike online learning which allows them to multitask. Besides, online learning also offers advantage in terms of cost saving besides is convenient for the students who do not have to compute to a centralised class to aid learning. This is particularly comfortable for working professionals and others who make be having some mobility constraints (Bird, 2014).
Additionally, online learning can improve the quality of education as students in far flung parts of the world with weak education infrastructure could assess learning through the web. In this regard, the use of tools such as YouTube and other educational websites are already revolutionising the learning in the digital age (Brown, nd). However, online learning tends to lack the discipline which could be instilled in other more formal traditional settings. As a result, the key impetus for online learning needs to be provided by the concerned individual only. Another feature of online learning is the lack of social interaction although through the aid of various technological aids, attempts are being made to enhance greater interactions in online learning. The online learning also leads to greater degree of standardisation in lessons imparted and is easier to control unlike learning in other contexts (Bird, 2014).
3. In the information age, a plethora of information sources are available, however, it is imperative to evaluate these on a host of parameters that form part of the Metzger’s criteria. The evaluation of usage of various common information sources is carried out below.
Social Media – While social media is wide in coverage, it is highly opinionated and thus may lack objectivity (Metzger, 2007). Further, there are concerns of accuracy also but with online social communities playing a more vigil role, this is being addressed. However, the actual usage of social media as an information source really stems from the underlying credibility of the source from which the information is being originated. Besides, in the modern business world, where networking has become significant, social media plays a critical role is getting access to appropriate authority (Mason, Ariasi & Boldrin , 2011)
Academic peer reviewed works- These normally stand high on authority, accuracy, objectivity and also coverage (Metzger, 2007). This is often considered to be the most reliable information source which often should be used. However, at times some students may find it hard to derive useful information because of the manner in which these works are presented and as a result may tend to drift towards more ”interesting” information sources thus compromising on accuracy and objectivity (Yang, Chen & Tsai, 2013). But, I personally find these the most suitable for topics where there is plethora of literature available for review such as teaching pedagogy.
Information websites – These are useful sources of information especially when authority requirements are not present. Further, objectivity at times may be compromised but yet these serve as critical information sources when reading personal experiences and interviews of experts.
It is apparent that a host of skills and attitudes are required to craft a career as a teacher besides subject knowledge. These skills help in engaging students in a better way and improve learning outcomes. It is significant to understand that online learning is significant different from learning in other context in terms of flexibility, convenience, cost, quality, discipline and social interaction. Further, in different situations based on the information needs, various information sources could be used for gaining relevant information keeping in mind the criteria highlighted by Metgzer.
Bird, K. (2014), Online vs. Traditional Education: The Answer You Never Expected, Retrieved on December 4, 2016
Brown, J.S. (n.d.), Learning in the Digital Age, Retrieved on December 4, 2016
Mason, L., Ariasi, N., & Boldrin, A. (2011). Epistemic beliefs in action: Spontaneous reflections about knowledge and knowing during online information searching and their influence on learning. Learning and Instruction, 21(1), 137–151.
Metzger, M. J. (2007). Making sense of credibility on the Web: Models for evaluating online information and recommendations for future research. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(13), 2078–2091.
SkillsYouNeed (n.d.), Teaching Skills, Retrieved on December 4, 2016
Yang, F.-Y., Chen, Y.-H., & Tsai, M.-J. (2013). How University Students Evaluate Online Information about a Socio-scientific Issue and the Relationship with their Epistemic Beliefs. Educational Technology & Society, 16 (3), 385–399