Based on your experience putting your lesson into the Canvas LMS, what do you feel are the benefits of using such a structured space for teaching and learning? How well does the structure of an LMS fit with your theory of online learning?
The cogs of an LMS can all work together and provide a process for the learning to take place. Having a process isn’t all that bad and so is the structure (as long as their is some flexibility — as with the image, the cogs all work together for outcomes, the smaller cogs spinning a little faster, while the others adding value at a slower, but steady pace. Even as I think about my personal learning theory including the facilitation model, a semblance of a process can be a good thing. This process and/or structure could be argued that it is too organized and does not allow the student to think and organize thoughts on their own. Self-regulation is an important piece of online learning and the idea that a learner can proceed at their own speed could be a benefit or cause failure.
Community is important to an online discussion, but does the structure get in the way of this and interfere with the level of discourse or more specifically development of a social presence? By providing a certain level of structure – guiding students as to some leading questions, possible articles to read, thoughts, and even feedback, students can attend to more of what supports and builds community. Reflection is also a key part of building this community — students become better engaged in the learning, can be their own moderators and build a collaborative environment in which discourse happens while staying “on course”.
Relevancy is also an important piece and by providing some level of structure can promote this idea while also encouraging the discussion that arises from the context of the content, but from the student perspective, personal relationships and knowledge. Relevant content builds on the foundation but also supports the direction and value of the course.