An introspective account and critical evaluation of an e-moderator's experience teaching in an online pilot EFL course
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This dissertation explores the role of the e-moderator, taking account of the skills required, and the processes involved, in creating and teaching an online English as a Foreign Language (EFL) course. It also details those theories which are applicable to online learning and how they are represented through various models, thus creating a framework to assist the emoderation process. In particular, Salmon's five-stage model (2004) is analysed to assess its effectiveness in helping to prepare a new e-moderator to teach in an online environment. Qualitative self-study research is conducted involving an analysis of the e-moderator's reflective journal. This method can be particularly insightful, uncovering the e-moderator's beliefs, perceptions and challenges encountered throughout the process. Thus, in-depth data is collected and used in evaluating an approach to e-moderation. It reveals how Salmon's fivestage model and others can be considerably helpful although not sufficient, in themselves, for successful online teaching and learning. In this regard, a critical appraisal and detailed analysis of Salmon's model relating to this research, is conducted to assess the skills required to become a successful e-moderator. This research reveals not only the complexities, problems, responsibilities and challenges encountered but also the tremendous rewards from the e-moderation process. Such research can encouragingly provide other practitioners with a valuable insight into the process and leads to recommendations demanding further research. In conclusion it is apparent that using systematic frameworks, such as Salmon's five-stage model, are extremely useful for effective scaffolding but are not sufficient on their own in producing a successful e-moderation process. It is suggested therefore, that additional support and continual encouragement should be provided to motivate and engage students in both synchronous and asynchronous interactions. Moreover, consideration should be given to specific pedagogy and social cultural factors when designing and implementing an online course.