Archive for August, 2011


Teaching an Online Course from Overseas

One of the best things about online courses is that they can be taken or taught from practically anywhere. Jacqueline Flynn found out firsthand what it’s like to teach an online course from overseas when she attended a family reunion in Italy.

 

Pre-departure organization was key, says Flynn, who loaded all the necessary documents and applications to her iPad before embarking. Her main concern for teaching Principles of Finance while traveling was having internet access.

 

When her AT&T global service failed to function upon her arrival in the small town of Bari, her husband suggested she purchase a 3G Sims card. With her Italian-speaking mother-in-law along to translate, she picked one up at the corner electronic store without any problems.

 

Just a few hours after popping it into her iPad, she had service. “This card is the size of my figure nail and was so powerful that even in the countryside of Tuscany it worked without a problem.”

 

Teaching a New York-based online course from across the Atlantic turned out to be easier than expected. “With no laundry or dishes to do, I actually had more time for it… I would ‘check in’ during the morning and after lunch.” She’d also log on in the evening after putting the children to bed.

 

“The time difference really didn’t matter. I actually chatted with a student while it was 1 a.m. their time. I never live chat with them in New York, so it kind of worked to my advantage,” she said. The only thing she was not able to do was provide weekly updates on grades.

 

A faculty member in New York was on standby in case of technical difficulties, though there were few. On days Flynn was traveling from one part of Italy to another, she found it helpful to have someone checking the forums and addressing any issues that cropped up, but other than that, it was smooth sailing.

 

Says Flynn, “Imagine visiting Tuscany, the birth place of Michelangelo and DaVinci, two of the greatest engineer’s and inventors—with my iPad in my backpack.”

 

She especially felt the irony of using new technology in a place known for its ancient history while visiting the Coliseum. “I could visualize the Gladiatorial contests and public spectacles that took place there. Then I was using my iPad in a discussion forum with students in New York, facilitating a debate on the financial status of Sony after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. It was the most global I’ve ever felt.”

 

So would she do it again? “I am grateful to have had the experience of being able to work with modern technology while visiting ancient ruins. I have new appreciation for all the modern day comforts that I have taken for granted. I look forward to having the opportunity again.  It was amazing!”

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