A school’s role is complex and constantly developing. What began as means through which to teach a trade evolved into a forum through which to impart knowledge. Today’s classrooms go beyond these original objectives and are intended to “prepare all students to be active participants in our exciting global community” (Kolk 2011). This new classroom goal is often summarized in “The Four Cs” – Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. A successful teacher will be sure to incorporate these themes into his lessons and classroom design.
However, the Four Cs play a slightly different role in an online course. Not only will students who nurture these skills be equipped to tackle today’s changing society, students who use these strategies in online courses are likely to succeed in a positive, stress-free environment. Check out the tips below to learn how to integrate the Four Cs into your online classroom.
Communication: Both the instructor and students play a significant role in effectively communicating in an online course. Instructors should be careful to create an intuitive course structure, write clear instructions, and effectively communicate their expectations. Students should pay special attention to the syllabus, all announcements, and discussion boards (Johnson 2015).
Commitment: An online course is often more work than a traditional one, not less. Therefore, due to the coupling of hours of school work with unstructured time in which to complete it, online students need to be very self-disciplined and organized in order to do well. Before a course begins, it is wise for students to allocate a proper amount of time each week in which to complete all readings and assignments as well as set aside a fixed location in which to do all schoolwork. Click here to learn more about what it takes to be an online student.
Community: Once again, both the instructors and students contribute to creating a strong sense of community in an online class. Instructors should portray themselves as a personable individual (instead of just a name on a screen) and interact with students personally, as opposed to only sending out mass messages. Students can form a virtual community through interacting with their peers via discussion boards and seeking each other out when they need help with an assignment. These relationships remove feelings of isolation and can dramatically increase a student’s performance in an online course.
Collaboration: The goal of education is not to walk out with a degree; it is to walk out with an education. A crucial component of the learning process to is to interact with learned thoughts and ideas and apply the sometimes intangible concepts. Collaboration is important in an online classroom because it facilitates this aspect of learning. Online students should work with their classmates to hone their critical thinking and analysis as well as to engage in active learning through teaching the information and receiving feedback.
How do you integrate the Four Cs into your online classroom?
The 21st Century Classroom – Where the 3 Rs Meet the 4Cs! by Melinda Kolk on tech4learning.com