Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bonk's Test for Online Instruction

Curt Bonk provides a humorous, but only too accurate test for what it takes to be an effective online instructor. Here is his test for phase 1, the bar only gets higher from here:
"Phase 1 test. Instructors must put in 100 hours per week and 1,500 hours during an online course. There is a very simple qualifying test here—-potential online instructors are placed in a testing room and asked to try to stay awake for 3 straight days. Toothpicks, Super Glue, coffee, Jolt, Mountain Dew, Fixx, and Red Bull are all freely provided. Those who can stay awake are allowed to venture to Phase 2 of the testing. Those who simultaneously use all the supplied items found in the room can skip Phase 2 and move right to Phase 3."
The sad point here is that those of us who are advocates for using technology often wonder why people don't want to use this technology. Bonk's list is a good reminder of why teaching online is hard, frustrating and challenging and perhaps only approached by the few who can pass his test.

For these approaches to become more commonplace it is up to those of us who think this work is important and ultimately a powerful addition to other instructional approaches to design systems that do not require passing this test.

We are still far from this, but remember that this technology is only 10-15 years old and printed books are 500 years old and lectures are at least 10,000 years old..... not a surprise that we are better at using books and lectures to teach than the web.

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