Week 20

I LOVE the material this week, but really connected with the article “Does the Digital Classroom Enfeeble the Mind?” I’ve done a Prezi about it and had a lot of fun with it.

Not sure why my code looks funky – but I tried embedding the Prezi using HTML… this is what I got, lol. I’m still learning I guess 🙂 BUT, the link works!

 

.prezi-player { width: 550px; } .prezi-player-links { text-align: center; }http://prezi.com/bin/preziloader.swf

 

Week 19 Post

I have some experience with hybrid courses both as a former student and as an instructor – so this week’s readings were interesting and incredibly enlightening! In terms of format for this week, I’m just going with a regular blog post because I am posting from home on my dial-up and embedding anything fancy from here is impossible.

As an undergraduate I took a hybrid conversational Spanish course that required us to meet on campus on four times during the semester and do the rest of our work online with language software and a class website. This was a difficult class for me because we met so infrequently and we had no real classroom continuity online or in person. There were no online discussions required or available and I think that was a detriment to the course. I took this my freshman year and had such a negative experience that I avoided taking any further hybrid courses, although I took and enjoyed several fully online classes.

While teaching at CSUSM I was asked to teach a hybrid freshman English composition course. We had never offered this course as a hybrid, and this particular course was unplanned. The scheduling office accidentally plugged in two 50 minute sessions per week on campus rather than two 75 minute sessions and by the time the error was discovered, no other classrooms were available to move to. So, the decision was made to turn this section into a hybrid course and have students complete work online to make up for the missed on campus time. It was a dismal failure! The students felt duped that they were suddenly in a hybrid course, and any work required of them online was considered “busy work” (as a large # of them noted on my teaching evaluations) which they resented. On my end, I incorporated class readings online and a class blog where students were expected to respond to those readings. I know I could I have developed those better though, and encouraged more engagement in the postings. So, for a multitude of reasons, this was not a positive experience either.

Through my online teaching experience the last two years, this POT program, and my heavy use of web enhanced courses (Ko and Rossen’s terms) – I feel I would be a much stronger instructor if I were offered another hybrid section. I think the key, and it seems others have touched on this, is balance.

Balancing what material is done in class and what is required online is essential. I’ve become very intrigued by course flipping and from everything I’ve read about it, it seems ideal for hybrid courses – even freshman composition courses. The material online needs to be engaging, interactive, informative, and contribute substantively to the workshops I would facilitate in class.The work I would assign in class would need to be focused on the practice of writing, reading and providing feedback to others, and presenting writing to the class. I am suspicious that this flip would not work well for a remedial writing course – at least with me at the healm until I’ve done a run through of a 100 level course.

My two previous experiences with hybrid course were negative but taught me quite a bit about what doesn’t work. Neither course had a developed community and that really affected the student’s (mine included) engagement in the course and grades overall. I see now how the assignments I was given as a student limited my engagement, and the work I assigned as an instructor were well meaning but still fell short due to my lack of engagement in the class. I think I expected my students to go do their online work, and that was a poor attitude on my part. I realize now that I needed to go put in that work too, by aprticipating in the blog, asking them questions, and providing more than superficial feedback. So, ultimately, I look forward now to teaching another hybrid course at some point because I feel much better prepared.

Belated Week 17 posting

For this week I decided to simply do a Power Point and link to it here. It’s not in Slideshare or anything fancy, in the interest of time and my playing catch-up, so to speak. POTWeek17

I really appreciated Lisa’s blog post about “The Seven Things I’d Want to Know” – and think this might have been a great thing to have even in the first part of the course. It’s a good introduction to some of the initial questions first time online faculty don’t know they should ask yet!

Louisa Moon’s video was also so helpful. Anything to save time and not forsake quality is okay by me! Lisa mentioned that as well – sometimes the stuff that cuts down on the instructor’s time turns out to be an excellent learning exercise for the students. But, I imagine we have all accidentally stumbled across those in our face-to-face classes as well, yes? 🙂

Week 18 – Course Management Systems

I found this weeks readings to be so interesting. Lisa’s article on “novice faculty” was a real eye opener for me too, because all of my sort of gut instincts about the profile of most on line teachers was confirmed. She said that the majority of the faculty interviewed didn’t use the Internet even much in their own work, which is really intriguing and also a bit unsettling considering they are being asked to teach on line. I have to say though, that is one great case for CMSs because if we cannot change who is teaching we can at least supply them with programs that are easy enough to use to get a class up and running on line. Of course we all hope instructors will go to more trouble, like each of us are in this POT program, to get more education on the pedagogies and tools available to us through these CMSs, but we also need to be realistic and realize many won’t or can’t for some reason or another.

Anyway – I did a Prezi with my thoughts for this week’s stuff. I seem to have lost my knack for embedding, but I’ve successfully linked, lol 🙂

Belated Week 16 posting

All right, I fell behind in weeks 14 and 15 because I was really sick and instead of trying to make everything up now, I’m going to try to pick up and move on and work my way backwards if need be later on 🙂 I don’t want to get so deep into a hole that I cannot possible get out.
 
That being said, here is my slightly belated Week 16 post! 🙂 I should be back in the saddle now…
 
First, a couple of notes on the readings, although I realize we only need to post up our FAQs (which I’ll get to). Nielsen’s “College Students on the Web” really stuck with me because I realized that I had falsely identified some, not all, but some of my students as everything he said they were not. I’m so glad this was provided because it really is a good snapshot, and I would assume a fairly accurate one. Secondly, the reading in Ko and Rossen was very helpful for me this week in developing the FAQ because at first I was not entirely sure what should be included. When they said “go through the steps yourself and jot down and points that may not be obvious” a light bulb went off and that helped me to put my FAQ in perspective and I think helped me to develop a much more practical FAQ. So, here goes nothing!
 
I teach for a University back east and so all of my courses are fully online and only run eight weeks a piece. Therefore, some students who are not tech savvy tend to struggle and have a steep learning curve because the course moves so quickly. I find myself having a very detailed syllabus, but not see that a FAQ page might be just what I need to add! Here is what I developed in response to the particular course I am currently teaching. I have changed actual phone numbers and email addresses for the purpose of this blog.
 
 
FAQ
 
Where Can I See the Requirements for the Course?
 
The “Course Materials” page includes not only the syllabus, but the schedule of assignments, the grading rubrics I will use to grade all papers, and all the course policies.
 
Do I need any special software to participate in this class?
 
You need to be able to access the internet. You need Microsfot Word or the ability to convert your assignments into a Word document. You should have the most current version (8 or higher) of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Aside from these three progra,s the only other resources you’ll be accessing will be on the web, like YouTube or websites that I like to.
 
How do I submit my assignments each week for grading?
 
There is a link on each unit page that looks like a green check mark. Simply click on the link and a box will appear for you to upload your assignment. Your assignments should always be in a Microsoft Word 1997-2003 document, which means the file ending will look like this – .doc.
 
How can I see my grades?
 
Simply click on “My Grades” on the left hand side of the main screen of the course page and you’ll be taken to your individual grade page. All assignments that have yet to be graded will have a green exclamation point next to them – this means you have submitted your work, but it has not been given a score by me yet. All assignments that have already been graded will have a numerical score next to them. The score is also a link. If you click on the link you will be taken to the assignment itself and any comments I have made on your assignment. It is particularly important for you to click on these each time you see new scores appear, as the feedback I provide is intended to help you progress in this class.
 
What happens if I have trouble with Blackboard and cannot access something?
 
First, you can post to the “General Questions” area of the discussion board to see if anyone else is having the same problem. Occasionally a link is broken and I can simply fix it on my end. If we then determine that nothing is wrong on this end, you should contact Technical Support at 1-888-888-8888. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
 
Is tutoring available to online students?
 
Yes! We have two ways for you to get help with your papers. First, the University Writing Center has a limited number of consultants available each week just for online tutoring. You should email your questions, along with your assignment to wc@university.edu.  Second, the University partners with Tutor.com. This is an excellent source that is available for free to all students currently enrolled in classes. Simply visit Tutor.com and follow the prompts for online tutoring. You will sign in with your school ID #. If you have any trouble with this website, please contact Stephanie at ss@university.edu.
 
Can online students borrow books from the university library?
 
Yes and no. The library will not allow you to check out books if you are not physically on campus to pick them up and they can only ship them within the state to another college nearby where you might live. If you live out of state, you would not qualify for this service. The bright side is that the university has thousands of online versions of books, eBooks, that you can access from home. The library is also hooked up to other sources, like Project Gutenberg, which provides the full text of thousands of more books online. While you may not be able to physically get a book from the library depending on your location, you can certainly access online books. For questions on how to access these eBooks, contact Jesse at 1-888-888-8888.
 
How often should I log in to the class? How often do you log in to the class??
 
I expect you to log into the course at least three times during the week. All assignments are due by Midnight on Sunday, so you may find yourself logging in twice during the week and once on the weekend, or even more than that if you wish. I am typically online in the course on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I will respond to discussion board questions and do any grading during those times. I check my email everyday however, so if you have urgent or personal questions regarding your grades or the assignments, please email me at eduran@university.edu and I will respond to you within 24 hours.