Saturday, November 12, 2011

Teaching online

So I'm almost halfway through my online World Lit course and . . . it's just not the same. I'm going to give it chance. I am already scheduled to teach one more online course in the spring. My initial reaction is that teaching online limits the essential professor/student interaction, and student/student interaction that is so much an integral part of teaching and learning. There are ways to engage the students, and I need to learn how to better do that online.

Here's how it works. Students log in, preferably daily, and read the lecture, watch the power point presentations, read the text, and then do the learning activities. Learning activities consist of answering 2 discussion questions for each unit. After they answer the question, they also need to respond to two other students' postings. There is some interaction there. I'd like to see more. Then they take a quiz and write either an essay or a shorter response.

What do I miss? What I miss most is the instantaneous student response. Body language is so important -- I had no idea until I started teaching this class. Just by looking out at my class I can tell who is interested, who is bored, who is tired, who is preoccupied -- by the way they sit, slouch, sit forward expectantly, smile, yawn. I miss all of it teaching this online class.