Thursday, March 12, 2009

Offline guides to teaching online

Teaching Online: A Practical Guide, by Susan Ko and Steve Rossen (Routledge, 2008 paperback 339 pages, ISBN: 978-0415996907) provides a useful guide for those new, and not so new to Internet based education. About half the book is devoted to the technicalities of getting courses online and the other to the educational and social issues of interacting with students and encouraging them to interact with each other. One problem with such books is that they have to either deal with specific online tools, which not be the ones you have, or deal in generalities. This book takes the latter course, not naming products and giving a general guide. As a result it can be a bit vague on some of the details.

"Tutoring Online" by Tim Brook and Stephen Wall (CIT Solutions), 2001 is a more modest 50 page booklet on the same topic. It gives more specific details for Widows based systems and concentrates on tutoring online, not the production of courses. Unfortunately, the publisher CIT Solutions (the commercial arm of the Canberra Institute of Technology), do not seem to have done much to promote the book. I couldn't find it for sale on or elsewhere online. CIT, or the authors, could use something like for print on demand, as I did with my Green ICT course notes.

Both the books Teaching Online and Tutoring Online suffer from the quality of the print-on-demand process used to produce them. This does not allow colour, or high quality diagrams. One solution would be for the authors to providing a companion web site with supplementary materials. Also to avoid the general nature of the technology descriptions they could use the open source Moodle e-learning system as example. They could also provide examples online using Moodle.

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