Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Managing online-only classes

I'm doing another 1-credit online-only class (LRC103) using Ning and it's going fairly well so far. In the past it seemed more difficult to keep the activity level up but this time around the students have jumped right in. In the first week I asked about prior experience taking online classes here and this was one of the comments:
"I am very happy that there are more and more classes online. Instead of coming to school, it really allows one to work at their own pace. Having a newborn at home, the online class really allows me to make my own schedule and not have to worry about being on time or about attendance. I am also taking a sociology class which is hybrid. It isn't entirely online, but half of it is and its great! I think that we should try to persuade LAGCC to add some more online classes especially since a great majority of students work during the day."

3 comments:

  1. I like hybrid a lot more than I like online classes (which is not hard to achieve since I do not like online classes at all). When I taught a hybrid Composition class at another college, we used the face to face time to build cohesion among group members and classmates and also to explore challenging concepts, while online time was spent on things like peer review, discussion boards, etc. Because online environments are conducive to writing, composition classes benefit a lot from them; but if the students do not know each other the faceleness causes other problems

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  2. While I can see the advantages of online course, especially for students who have a limited amount of time due to work, schedules and other aspects of their lives, for me, the jury is still out on whether I would like an online course. For one, I find myself compulsively checking my class blog and every time my students post something, I comment on it. This is setting a bad precedent for the term and I'm starting to feel a bit like either I'm becoming addicted or am simply a control freak. Also while I'm fully supportive of educational/pedagogical innovation i.e. greater reliance/incorporation of technology in a classroom, I was very saddened to read in one of the daily papers on Tuesday, that the President feels that increased spending per student has not helped, so the new approach to improving education is getting rid of bad teachers. I'm not sure how this will be determined. But in that same paper, Klein stated that the teachers who are too attached to physical textbooks should cut the umbilical cord as in five years there will be no textbooks. It seems that while the teachers see technology as a tool, the politicians see it as a way to cut costs.

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  3. @ Miss B:

    Re: the addiction. It may be too late this semester, but you can fix it for the next. The details vary, but, for example, J and I decided that we would ONLY check e-mail M-F from 9:00-5:00 (and we told everyone so). You have an emergency? Too bad. It will have to wait until M at 9:00am. The good news is that we are in a profession where we CAN do this (as opposed to, say, doctors)--the world will NOT come to an end if I answer your e-mail two days from when you sent it, etc.

    It's hard, but you can do it, and I recommend that you do, for your sanity.

    We could also brainstorm as a group on ways to make the whole experience easier...

    As to the demise of textbooks...while that MAY happen in a distant future, as long as politicians do not respect us enough, we will need textbooks. How else can a person who was hired at the last minute to teach a class do a half decent job? Kline and Co. are living in Lalaland if they think the change will only come in 5 years...

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