Myth: You Can’t Create Intimacy in Online Classrooms
Getting to Know You… Always include an introduction assignment Use your VOICE, VIDEO, WRITING Welcome each person individually explaining why YOU are HAPPY to meet them and HOW you expect they will contribute “As someone almost ready to graduate Lila, I hope you’ll be willing to help some of our newer students!” “Banking is a great industry to be in Joe – and certainly one that everyone in the class will be able to relate to. Everyone will be interested in your examples!
Other Ways to Build Intimacy? Use “WE” Consider EVERY student a contributor Look at every assignment as an opportunity to “speak” to each student Use announcements ASK students How They’re doing and how they feel about the course, material, etc. Let students know you will meet or talk by phone if they make an arrangement in advance Keep a cheat sheet on each student
Connect Where Appropriate Let them know where you’ll be eating lunch Have office hours or times when you can reliably be reached Respond to Emails in less than 48 hours Show signs that you are in the online classroom at least 3-4 times each week Insist that struggling students call you
Myth: It’s Best To Mix Things Up Over the Course of the Semester
Be Consistent Students are busy. Consistent, predictable assignments allow students to budget their time appropriately Have a clear rubric for each assignment type Keep a clear and detailed syllabus to cut down on confusion and phone calls
Use Social Media – But Don’t Go Overboard It is unrealistic to expect students to keep track of you on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and your blog. If you must connect using social media – choose ONE!
Myth: Online Learning is Even more Boring Than Traditional Courses
Find Juicy, Real Life, Material for Some Assignments
Add Interest to the Lesson Material Curate! Find resources on the internet for each topic. Look for interesting and accessible videos, webpages, study guides – even other people teaching the same class! Bring in guest experts and guest speakers Create an “online fieldtrip”
Go Deep and Give Each Student Something to OWN Every student spends the semester becoming an “expert” in something Students retain more when they go deep Allows students to apply learning to something “real” – great for overly vague survey courses It will broaden your understanding of the topic and your students’ understanding as well You will demonstrate to students that what they are learning is applicable in more than one way
How Can Your Students Go Deep? Foreign Language (foods, cities or Spanish speaking countries) Anthropology (civilizations) Introduction to Business (businesses) Statistics (casino games) Health Sciences (diseases) Music and Art (artists, genres) History (cities, historical figures, economic, political, cultural perspectives) Management Information Systems (industries)
Disadvantages of Letting Students “Go Deep” You can’t expect everyone to turn in the same essay or discussion posts –grading takes longer You might not know a lot about a student’s chosen topic (ask me about cargo shipping!) It may take a few extra minutes to verify what students are saying
Discussions Have Value Builds class community by promoting discussion on course topics Allows time for in-depth reflection- students have more time to reflect, research & compose their thoughts before participating in the discussion Facilitates learning by allowing students to view & to respond to the work of others Develops thinking & writing skills http://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/stw/edutopia-onlinelearning-mastering-online-discussion- board-facilitation.pdf
Class Discussions Can Go Horribly Wrong Describe events that spurred the beginning of the Great War? Arnie: Do you mean World War I?????? Leslie: The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand Joe: Ditto Lekiesha: Archduke Ferdinand was murdered in 1914 by Gravilo Princip. His wife was assassinated too. Her name was Sophie. Lila: Yup – that was it James: And the rest is history! Marie: I read somewhere that he might have lived if he hadn’t been sewn into his suit. Jonathan: Shame. But yeah – that’s what started it. Marie: I heard that he wanted the suit to fit perfectly. They couldn’t get him out of it quick enough to help save him. The archduke died for fashion. Describe events that spurred the beginning of the Great War? Arnie: Do you mean World War I?????? Leslie: The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand Joe: Ditto Lekiesha: Archduke Ferdinand was murdered in 1914 by Gravilo Princip. His wife was assassinated too. Her name was Sophie. Lila: Yup – that was it James: And the rest is history! Marie: I read somewhere that he might have lived if he hadn’t been sewn into his suit. Jonathan: Shame. But yeah – that’s what started it. Marie: I heard that he wanted the suit to fit perfectly. They couldn’t get him out of it quick enough to help save him. The archduke died for fashion.
Discussion Tips Have each student tackle the question from a different perspective Consider starting the weekly discussion on a Wednesday so the first post is due on Saturday night or Sunday Grade discussions using a rubric with specific expectations: word count, use of references, use of examples, response to others Jump into the discussion
Myth: Responses to Discussion Posts are Usually Pointless “Ojo, you always have the most interesting posts. That’s why I like to respond to your posts. You make a really interesting point about the airlines. I had no idea that airlines actually charge different prices to different people. What a ripoff that is! It seems everywhere you go, people are trying to rip you off! Who knew?! I will have to go check this out. Thank you so much for a really great post Ojo!”
Define What a Substantial Response Is Add a fact or an additional example Ask a question that demonstrates critical thinking Politely refute something in a classmate’s post
Students Need to Apply Sustained Effort High stakes exams encourage “bursts of energy” and periods of non-energy Book publisher questions and answers may be posted on the internet Regular, low stakes assignments keep students engaged An end of year meta- assignment can encourage reflection and allow students to see how the totality of their course learning and coursework comes together
Myth: You Have to Be Tough and Stick to the Rules
Hold Accountable and Set Expectations Have VERY high expectations Prosecute plagiarism with a zero tolerance policy Let students know when work is not up to par Know that some may never get on board: “It is obvious that you have not taken the time to review the syllabus nor the rubrics for course assignments. Please do not expect that you will be able to pass this course without following the requirements described in the syllabus and rubrics.” Ask your best students or very good students for permission to use their work as exemplars. Doing so helps the “model student” and struggling students But…
Bend and Adjust as Necessary Drop the lowest grade on weekly assignments Make your “Official Rules” slightly stricter than you really are Change what isn’t working and explain why
Show Concern for Students as Individuals Where have you been? How are your transfer applications going? Are you feeling better? Your work is not up to your usual standard? Did something happen to you this week?
Heap Praise Ask your top students to help out weaker ones “Good point!” “Great question!” Always try to find something positive unless there is absolutely nothing good to say
Demonstrate Concern for Student Learning Chapter survey: What did you find most interesting or unexpected about this chapter? Were any concepts confusing or difficult for you? On a scale of 1-10, how difficult was this week’s written assignment? What else do you want me to know?
Make it Fun Countdown the weeks or host an asynchronous ½ semester party (post photos) Share something fun you found Cartoon intro for each new chapter Promise students that if the class quiz average is above 85%, you’ll air guitar to “Happy” Invite students to meet you in person for an end-of semester pizza
Be the Easter Bunny Hide a few extra credit points to see who’s paying attention. In the syllabus In an announcement In a module In an exam
Expect to spend 8 hours or more per week per class Be present in the classroom Be consistent Look for consistent effort instead of high stakes exams Use multimedia LMS tools Use and grade discussions Be clear about expectations Show concern – create intimacy Find “juicy points of interest” Let each student “go deep” Bend
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