- What do the institutions emphasise about their teaching or training? For example, do they mention ‘groups’ or ‘participation’?
The International House Online Teacher Training Institute doesn't say anything on the first page about their beliefs or benefits of participation, collaboration or groupwork.
It is built on a moodle platfrom, again not mentined explicitly, but this could suggest it is more collaborative in nature - it certainly has the function to be able to be so.
The New School in New York offers online degrees, certificates and courses. They immediately emphasise the connection with students around the world.
Like any class, the professor presents material and then leads a discussion. Instead of speaking, however, students post comments using the My Courses feature of MyNewSchool. Your responses, when joined with your fellow students' and the instructor, form the discussion. If you’ve ever participated on a web board or left a comment on a blog, you probably already have a pretty good idea of how black board works. If not, The New School offers online tutorials to help you learn the program quickly and easily. All in all, the experience is pretty similar to a traditional class—in fact, the conversation is sometimes more in depth because the posting mechanism makes it easier for all students to participate.
There is one major difference, however. Online classes meet "asynchronously"—which means you can read materials, join discussions and post responses anytime of the day or night. You don’t have to be online at the same time as your classmates, but because you can read all the responses every time you are “in class,” it feels as if everyone is together.
- What claims do they make about the experience that their learners will enjoy?
However, looking at the course details for the DoS course, for example, showed: "give participants the opportunity to experience being in the role of a DOS"; "introduction to the theory and practice of being a DOS in an International House school through an interactive and participatory programme of seminars and task work"
"You might be surprised, but online classes are not so different from the university’s on-site classes—which are typically small in size and big on discussion. The seminar-style of teaching translates especially well to the web, where even the shyest of students can participate with ease."
They state that the "beauty of online learning is that there is no such thing as a "typical online student"".
- Are any claims made about the benefits of participation, collaboration, groupwork or similar? Is any evidence provided?
No claims seem to be made regarding the benefits, except the fact that they've chosen to include these types of activities. No evidence is provided unless you take Recent Feedback as a from of proof..