Since most online classes are internet or web-based, these spaces become our classrooms. Just as we know where the doors and windows are, and how to use the equipment, in our classrooms, it’s important that online teachers be familiar and comfortable with our online space.
The World-Wide Web is part of the Internet, which also includes email and private networks. When we work in a Learning Management System, we are inside a closed system on the Internet, not the Web. We may send students to the open web to explore resources, or we may embed materials from the open web into the LMS. Those of us using WordPress or Google Sites as platforms are teaching on the Web.
Let’s use email as an example. If you use an email platform like Outlook, that is on the Internet, or in some cases an intranet, a closed network hosted and run by your college. If you use Gmail, you are using web mail (web-based email).
The browser (Chrome, Firefox, Explorer) is what makes accessing the Web possible. What the browser does is interpret markup to display images, text and video a particular way. The most common markup on the Web is HTML. In all Learning Management Systems, you can create your own “pages”. When you type in things and use the toolbar to add images or embed video, all you are doing is using the LMS’s interface for HTML. You can usually see the markup itself if you toggle <HTML> or something similar in the toolbar (for your WordPress blog, it’s the “Text” tab).
Browsers differ and each uses different plugins or extensions to be able to view different items, like those made with Flash (which iPads cannot view at all). Sometimes browser security settings can block the ability to view, download, or run items on a website.
This is why, when a student reports that they can’t see something you’ve posted, it helps if they try a different browser!