After being transferred from a Part-Time to a Full-Time Teacher position at Aventa Learning, I was wisked off to meet my mentor. I had been itching to meet this person since the day I had finished my Teacher Training Course, which I had completed 10 days ahead of schedule, resulting in lots of nothing-to-do-but-self-teach time. I spent my "down-time" well, making Avatars and practicing using Sparkling Text for my online classroom Announcements Page, but I didn't want to just focus on the bells and whistles of the online learning environment. I was more than ready to get to the meat of learning how to teach online. The Teacher Training Course was complete in giving me content and tutorials associated with the skills need to complete my job description well, but I was ready to see it in action. I wanted to see it being applied.
My mentor teacher met me in an Elluminate session and I practiced, for the first time, using the microphone to speak to another person, real-time, online. It was a sticky beginning. I accidentally pushed the wrong button twice resulting in a high-pitched microphone-feedback noise permeating our speakers, and I failed to take her cues to grab the mic in a speedy manner. But with her patience and my acclimation to the program, I fell into a workable pace that resulted in a lobbying of ideas and information.
It was the holidays and she instructed me to enter her courses and get familiar with Aventa's course content while she was on vacation. As I spent each day reading the content and studying how it connected to the assessments, the environment became more and more comfortable. I studied the gradebook and made note of how different students were writing with differing levels of proficiency and even noticed a few questionable entries showing signs of plagiarism. To my mentor's credit, I also viewed her emails giving this one specific student information regarding the consequences of his actions. I watched all of her tutorials for her students as well. She was definately in control of her online learning environment and was going to be a great asset to my learning.
I am left to wonder now: How will I deal with student whose writing is substantially below par? How will I help remediate that student's writing while attempting to move forward with content aquisition? How will I respond when I see my first evidences of plagiarism? How will I make sure I do a superb job in creating tutorials for my students?
My plans: I will ask my mentor how she has supported student's who are writing at such low levels and how I should respond to student plagiarism. As far as those tutorials....its time to just jump in. My mentor told me to create some recorded Elluminate sessions teaching a concept or two and I guess I just need to get started!