Professor, please take advantage of the technology
Get to know Blackboard (or whichever platform you use) and be consistent in how you use it. Keep all the discussion forums in one place and put the most current forum on top.
Give us a meaningful announcement each week. This is your chance to wrap up the previous week’s work and introduce what is coming up next. I have a teacher this semester who emails the announcement each week as well as posting it in Blackboard. Extra points for this kind of communication.
Preload the discussion forums. I love when profs do this (but so few do). It gives the eager beavers a way to work ahead if they need to. If you don’t like to preload them, then at least put the forums up in a timely way, say a few days before the first posts are due.
Give us a lecture. This is probably the biggest thing that can make an online course suffer in comparison to a live one, but it doesn’t need to be that way! I’ve had written lectures, PowerPoint lectures, recorded audio lectures and recorded video lectures, and a combination of those. Your lecture orients us in the readings, gives focus to important aspects we might miss, and covers material not found in the readings. Your lecture makes the class feel more complete. I always feel cheated when an instructor forgoes the lecture.
Give us links to other online sources. Point us in the direction for print interviews, YouTube video clips, course-specific research, pertinent news stories – anything that furthers our understanding and interest. We’re online already. These resources are just a click away. Let us know where to look.
Post a question forum and make it easy to find. Put it right at the top of the discussion forums. My questions and your answers can be helpful for other students’ understanding, so encourage our curiosity. We all benefit.
Fellow students…have I forgotten anything? I’d love to hear what you think about your online courses.
Have a great weekend, everyone!