Despite my problem with course selection for next semester (still working on that), I’ve been pretty fortunate, usually able to get the classes I want or need to take. Since I started taking classes 6 years ago, UMA has tripled the number of online courses offered. I’m taking 2 online courses this semester. One is fabulous, and the other is, well, just fine. I can’t help compare them to each other, and to all the other online classes I’ve taken, and there have been many.
With that in mind, here is Part 1 of my completely biased, totally subjective wish list that I would direct to any online professor.
Professor, please interact with us
First, let us know who you are, your education and teaching background. The first week of class, there’s always an introduction forum. Be part of it. Even more, take advantage of that Prof Information tab in Blackboard. We really do want to know what you’re all about.
Give us a way to get in contact with you. Most of the time, we’ll just email. But we might have an issue that requires an actual phone conversation. Give us your office hours so if we need to talk, we know when to call.
Take part in the discussion forums. Don’t just give us a discussion prompt and then disappear. Don’t just monitor student discussions. Don’t just ask questions. Let the students get the conversation going, then jump in, be part of it. You are the instructor. Use the discussion forums to instruct us.
Give us feedback. Part of this will come from your responses to our discussion posts, and part of it will come from our graded assignments. For online courses, the discussion forums are usually a big part of our final grade. Let us know how we’re doing. Use the My Grades feature under the Tools tab so we can see where we stand.
Get graded work back to us in a timely manner, and please give us appropriate feedback, not just a grade. The grade lets us know how we did; the feedback lets us know how we might do better.
Coming up next…Part 2: Professor, please give us a complete and informative syllabus.