Week 23 – My Presentation

For my presentation I really got to thinking about how my view of teaching in the online environment has changed, and moreover, how I would like my students in the online world to be able to understand where I am coming from. In person I set up a tone/message on the first day of class and I believe I carry that same tone throughout the semester. In my online class I think I have tried to do so before, but often incrementally, add to my message throughout the semester on an as-needed basis. I was aiming for a nice intro letter here – a consistent set-up if you will of my expecations of them, their expecatations of me, and what all of us being in this together looks like.

The readings and activities we have done in this course have taught me several things, but most importantly, it is that student engagement online is so much more than someone signing in and completing the work. How do we make that work matter? How do we make the student realize we think it matters? That they matter?

So..I have done a Prezi and again, am linking ehre since WordPress seems so adamantly against us embedding. I considered adding in sources on Prezi in terms of the influences for each of the points I address in the my “open letter” but I realized that would not fit IN the letter. It wouldn’t be the right place. I hope, as you read, you see the culminating knowledge of our year long journey through this open letter to my online students…

Open Letter to Online Students


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jproppe
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 21:13:05

    I loved your presentation!! I especially enjoyed your open letter to online students, which could be an open letter to any student whether they are online or not. You may already know this, but in case you do not, this should be included in all the courses you teach. Bravo!!!


  2. Jacqualine Dyess
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 22:42:31

    What a great way to begin, as Jean suggested, any course. I think it would be very motivating for any student to read this at the beginning of class. I especially liked how you emphasized your commitment to the students and the fact that this is a journey which you and the entire class will share together. Good job!


    • ericaduran
      Apr 14, 2012 @ 14:52:18

      Thank you. I relly do feel like we are a team and this course only cemented that in my head. It became clear to me, though, that I was not adequately expressing this to my online students, although I definitely do to my F2F students. So, I think I’ll use this in my upcoming online courses!


  3. mfarnam
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 04:20:41

    Your letter is fantastic. I like how you state that you are human and not just a computer. I spoke with an online student who commented that his online course was like learning from a robot. Your letter actually makes the student experience real and will promote engagement with you and your students. Cheers to a wonderful project.


    • ericaduran
      Apr 14, 2012 @ 14:54:57

      It’s funny you say that because I used to work in the Counseling Department of Palomar College and students who were signing up for online courses were often very frustrated at “class limits” for online sections. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Why are there class limits? It’s an online class!” To which I would have to say, “There is still a teacher at the other end grading your work. One person can only handle so much.” 99% of the time the students would respond with “Ohhh. I didn’t think about that.” There was something very disconnected about the way they viewed these online classes, and I wanted to capture that in this letter. I also hoped to engage them by reminding them that I am human and they may act differently if they remember that, lol.


  4. Norm Wright
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 10:43:13

    Very Nice. Offer amd invite the student to participate in a collaborative respectful relationship dedicated to their success in your course. I really like telling them “You are both a student and a teacher” You can use this for any type of course. It’s not specific to any particular subject.
    Very attractive use of Prezi too. Good stuff.


    • ericaduran
      Apr 14, 2012 @ 14:56:56

      Thank you 🙂 In addition to learning a lot in temrs of pedagogy, I am happy to say I discovered and have now mastered Prezi. I really enjoy this format and intend on continuing its use for my courses. I am also almost mastering Slideshare at this point and am anxious to use it more.

      I agree, this easily could be used for all courses one teaches. I hope to incorporate it into my online courses specifically because I do have great conversations with my F2F students about us working as a team. I hope this fills in the gap I had unintentionally left in my online classes.

      Thank you for the feedback.


  5. jproppe
    Apr 14, 2012 @ 01:14:39

    P.S. May I borrow (steal) this? 🙂


  6. Dancing online
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 00:00:59

    Beautiful presentation – what a wonderful gift to your students! I think it also gives them permission to be human too – to try new things and not do everything perfectly. It helps to establish a safe and nurturing learning environment that I think we all seek. I agree that this would be a wonderful way to start a new class.


  7. Aslam
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 11:48:22

    Hi, I agree to all above the, excellent use of Prezi and the open letter is fantastic idea. It is also an agreement between You – Me – Us, could be used as an ice-breaker in the beginning of a course.


  8. Cris Crissman (@Cris2B)
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 20:47:44

    Your presentation not only reaches out to your students as individuals but serves as an introduction to your pedagogical philosophy, Erica. It has the sincerity and power of a “This I Believe” speech http://www.npr.org/series/4538138/this-i-believe Lovely language and very meaningful!


  9. Rocío Giráldez
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 04:16:07

    I love your presentation Erica! It is so encouraging for students and instructors to break the ice and take the possible intimidation of an online course away. I put myself in the shoes of a student taking its first online course: with an open letter like that I would feel so comfortable about the course and already part of a community. I hope we can borrow it 🙂


  10. ericaduran
    May 01, 2012 @ 14:59:37

    Rocio, Yes, borrow! 🙂 Thank you so much for your words of encouragement.


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